07 January 2010

PLDT, SBMA to push Subic as IT hotspot

Telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has teamed up with the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to put Subic at the frontlines of the country’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

PLDT Subictel president Dennis Magbatoc said they have “agreed in principle” to partner with SBMA in the promotion of this free port’s emerging IT capabilities to enable Subic to directly compete with leading ICT players like Manila, Cebu, Davao, Laguna and others.

We would like to position Subic in the forefront, one of the newest choices when it comes to ICT,” said Magbatoc.

He said a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between SBMA, PLDT and its subsidiary PLDT Subic Telecom (Subictel) is scheduled for signing late this month.

Magbatoc said the agreement would pave the way for tripartite collaborative projects that would benefit the Subic Bay Freeport’s ICT industry.

He said the projects would bank on PLDT’s most recent ICT investments here that are worth more than P40-million.These include the fiber optics cable that connects Subic Bay to Manila and the entire Luzon grid, and the P20-million Innovation Laboratory (Innolab) of Subictel that was unveiled last October.

SBMA administrator Armand Arreza said meanwhile that Subictel’s hi-tech IT facility, which sits beside Subic’s Spanish Gate landmark, has been included in the itinerary for potential investors visiting this former naval base.

He said that Subic Bay’s IT and telecommunications infrastructure, available and soon-to-be-offered telecoms solutions that cater to business process outsourcing (BPO) operations, retail and manufacturing businesses, and even the hotel industry, will be staged at the Subic Innolab, the fifth such PLDT facility in the country.

“With this one-stop IT center, the SBMA will get to showcase the IT aspect of doing business in Subic, on top of its other strengths like strategic location, tax and duty-free perks, highly-skilled manpower, superb support industries and infrastructure, and a highly-secured and tourist-friendly environment,” said Arreza.

“When it comes to IT support, we now have everything and anything you need,” Arreza added, referring to the “fully loaded” theme of Subictel’s Innolab.

Arreza said the SBMA is keen on having Subic take the path to knowledge-based industries, as some IT analysts expect the ICT industry to grow by 30%-35% annually, generating one million new jobs for 2010 alone.

“With PLDT as partner, the Subic Bay Freeport can now shift from labor-intensive industries to knowledge-based industries, guided by the emerging trends in the IT sector,” he said.

Arreza also said that the vertical expansion thrust of this free port is being taken to accommodate the entire gamut of BPO and IT-related services like back-office outsourcing, software and games development, engineering design, and digital animation, among others. (SBMA Corporate Communications)