GARAPAN Saipan — Pacific Telecom Inc. which entered into a partnership with Japanese Sumitomo Group a 400-year-old Japan corporation with companies that deal in chemicals machinery insurance industrial materials and real estate in July will start operating cellular phone services on Guam next year according to Jose Ricardo Delgado   president and chief operating officer of PTI.

“We got the frequency assigned to us in November. And so now we are going to build our new network over there ” Delgado told the Journal.

“Probably by the end of the third quarter next year we can start cellular phone services ” he added. Several telecommunication companies are already operating on Guam.

Competition Delgado said “is going to be tough.”

“We have to compete in that market. We have no choice because the CNMI is shrinking. I believe in our company. We can compete well ” he said.

Delgado said PTI’s partnership arrangement with the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo boosted efforts to open the Guam branch. He said there are other expansion plans.

“We are looking at different places but one thing for sure is that we will be on Guam next year ” he said.

In his speech before the Saipan Chamber of Commerce on Dec. 6 Delgado said the cellular build-out in Guam is part of PTI’s efforts to develop new revenue streams. Others include a phone directory project a DSL marketing push and new bundling and marketing initiatives.

This he said in the face of a 16.2% decline in tourist arrivals in fiscal 2006; an eight-hour reduction in the government pay cycle; reduced private sector operations; a 100% increase in power rates; a monthly drop in government revenues; and the potential exodus of  citizens to Guam Hawaii and the U.S. mainland.

Delgado said PTI’s spending is now more focused on investing in cellular and DSL capacities. Sumitomo acquired 25% of PTI for $25 million on July 31 with plans to upgrade PTI through an arrangement with KDDI a company that is at the forefront of Japan’s Code Division Multiple Access operator.

The development came on the heels of NTT DoCoMo’s move to acquire Guamcell Communications.

PTI was formerly Verizon. The Delgado family purchased Saipan and Guam operations in September 2005. Sumitomo Japan’s biggest conglomerate was established in 1691.
PTI revealed its Guam expansion plans to the Journal  in February this year

Anthony S. Mosley chief operating officer of PTI told the Journal that the company commenced discussions with telecommunications firms in Hawaii Palau and Gibraltar as part of its expansion plans. (See “PTI talking turkey with companies regionally and in Mediterranean” in the Feb. 20 issue of the Journal.)

“We are always looking for business opportunities that make sense for our company. We feel strongly that regional partnership will rule the day and contribute [to] the continued growth of not only our company but [of] the multitude of innovative services being offered to the public. 

“We are ambitious and are ready to move quickly into new markets where opportunities abound ” Mosley said. MBJ