Busted: Meme of Telstra CEO promising cheaper, faster internet for PH this 2016 is a FAKE!

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Talks about the possibility of Telstra finally offering their Internet services in the Philippines have come alive once again after President-elect Rodrigo Duterte warned telecommunication companies to provide Filipinos with faster Internet service, or he will open the telco market to foreign players.

“For the communication guys, iyong Internet connectivity, you improve the service or I will open the Philippines to competition. Pasok lahat. Then it will bring down [the price] and increase efficiency,” Duterte said.

This prompted Duterte supporters and several pro-Duterte Facebook pages to make Telstra-related posts, like this one below.

Duterte on Telstra

There was even a poll conducted online asking about whether Duterte should open a national broadband deal with Telstra, to which netizens responded with a resounding “YES.”

Duterte on Telstra

But it was already reported in March 2016 that San Miguel Corporation (SMC) has ended talks with Telstra over a possible telco venture in the Philippines.

According to Ramon Ang, SMC President and COO, both companies could not continue with the talks.

This news was confirmed by Telstra CEO Andrew “Andy” Penn.

“Despite enormous amount of effort and goodwill on all sides, we were simply unable to come to commercial arrangements that would have enabled us all to proceed,” Penn said in a statement coursed through the Australian Securities Exchange.

But this news of the failed talks with Telstra did not reach a few people who posted this photo on a pro-Duterte Facebook page.

Duterte on Telstra

Some of those who commented on the post were cheering Telstra on, commending this as great news, and hoping that the Australian Internet service provider would come to the Philippines. But others also pointed out what happened in March. There were even commenters who said the meme was a hoax.

Further digging led us to discover that the meme and the quote attributed to the Telstra CEO was indeed a FAKE!

According to an article entitled “Rumor Control: 5 Things About Telstra That You’re Probably Wrong About” written by tech blog Unbox.ph and posted on October 30, 2015, the meme of the Telstra CEO was a fake.

As Unbox has pointed out, if you try searching for the quote on Google, you won’t find anything attributing it to a Telstra CEO.

But what’s most important is that the man in the meme is not Telstra’s current CEO, who would have dealt with the talks with SMC. He is David Thodey, the former Telstra CEO who retired from his position in April 2015.

The current CEO of Telstra, who also confirmed of the failed talks with SMC, is Andrew “Andy” Penn, pictured below.

Andy_Penn_Telstra_CEO

Image source: telstra.com.au

The possibility of Telstra entering the Philippines as an additional competition in the telco market ended in March, but depending on Duterte’s administration, he might decide to start new talks with the Australian firm. But for now, nothing of the sort is happening.

Moreover, even the meme used to stir up false hope among the Filipino netizens is a fake. All we can do now is wait and see what the Philippine telcos will do after Duterte warned them to shape up and how Duterte’s administration will address the need for faster and cheaper Internet service in the country.

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