(L-R) Converge ICT COO Jesus C. Romero, Converge ICT President & CEO Dennis H. Anthony Uy, Maria Grace Y. Uy, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Y. Kim, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan, and Warburg Pincus LLC Managing Director Saurabh Agarwal
Converge ICT, the country’s premier pure end to end fiber internet service provider, received a multi-million-dollar investment from Warburg Pincus, a private equity firm based in the United States.
Converge ICT has been aggressively expanding its fiber infrastructure with the aim of providing Filipinos access to the more reliable fiber internet connection. The $250 million or P12.8 billion investment will be earmarked on rolling out more fiber connections nationwide.
"Since going full throttle with our fiber network roll-out and package offerings, the change in overall Philippine performance has been noticeable," said Dennis Uy, founder and president, Converge ICT. "In 2018, the average connection has risen to 18Mbps. We don't take full credit but the company’s contributions have been undeniable."
This is the Warburg Pincus' first investment in the Philippines. One of the world's biggest equity firms has $20 billion invested in Asia and about $65 billion in assets under management.
"We are excited about the country’s young, digital-savvy population and its thriving services industries, which have created an outsized need for connectivity and will create explosive growth in the broadband space," said Saurabh Agarwal, managing director, Warburg Pincus. "Converge ICT is a remarkable business and growth story and I am confident that it will continue to achieve significant growth milestones and solve the ever-increasing connectivity needs of the country."
Converge ICT is looking at capturing 30% of the country's broadband market in the next few years. With this investment, Converge ICT will be able to fastrack the construction of its $1.8-billion nationwide internet backbone. The current rollout includes a $70-million domestic submarine cable with 20 landing stations across the Philippines. The Luzon backbone is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2020.
"Converge ICT is the only pure end-to-end fiber internet provider in the country with all-in house capabilities," said Uy. "We have been investing heavily on innovations that would move the broadband market forward so we can be on par with our neighbors. We have rolled out 400Gbps per channel in the past."
At present, Converge ICT is looking at doubling its half-a-million subscribers by next year. Seventy percent of the company's customer base are first-time fixed broadband service users and Uy plans to increase that with more expansions in the coming months.
Photo caption 2: (L-R) Converge ICT President & CEO Dennis H. Anthony Uy, Maria Grace Y. Uy, DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan, and Warburg Pincus LLC Managing Director Saurabh Agarwal
"We are 100% committed to the long-term success of our partners Converge ICT and, more importantly, the success of the Filipino customers whom we serve, and their connectivity needs we seek to provide," said Agarwal.
The choice of Warburg Pincus to stream fresh funds to Converge ICT is due to the former's deep understanding of the business and expertise. Uy reiterated that it is not always about the money but making the Philippines more competitive in the world market by providing more reliable broadband service.
"To bring about real-life change and progress," Uy said. "That is our commitment to the Filipinos. To serve the under-served and unserved. Together, we will use technology to be what it has been set out to be. To make information more readily available, services faster, communities safer and life, in general, better. Convenience on-demand."