Solon sees PLDT-Smart following Globe’s plan to sell cell towers

PLDT-Smart will likely follow its rival Globe Telecom’s plan to sell its cell towers to any of the seven independent private firms putting up new towers for collective use, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said Sunday, February 10.

“We see both PLDT and Globe eventually assigning their 16,000 towers to any or all of the non-aligned firms providing shared towers, now that the government has permitted at least seven of them to operate,” Campos, a deputy minority leader, said.

“They (PLDT and Globe) will likely consolidate and spin off their tower assets into separate subsidiaries, and then put them up for sale to the independent tower entities,” Campos.

Campos made the statement after the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) authorized Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. (AIC) to build new towers for shared use.

AIC became the sixth entity authorized by the DICT to construct new common towers after ISOC Infrastructures Inc.; ISON ECP Tower; IHS Holding; Edotco Group Sdn Bhd; China Energy Equipment Co. and RT Telecom Sdn Bhd.

“The immediate beneficiary of new common towers is the Mislatel consortium – the third telecommunications player that the government has brought in precisely to drive competition in the supply of superior Internet services,” Campos said.

Globe has earlier said it is looking at divesting all or part of its tower assets to independent tower companies as part of its network expansion and optimization plan. To date, Globe has over 8,000 cell towers nationwide.

“With seven independent private firms racing to put up new towers for collective use, the Mislatel consortium should be able to swiftly scale up Internet service coverage, since it can opt to just lease the new structures,” Campos said.

The consortium would spend less to build fewer towers on its own, thus enabling it to spend more for faster network expansion, Campos said.

“As a business model, tower sharing is nothing new. In fact, one of the Fortune 500 firms is American Tower Corp., which owns and operates over 170,000 shared wireless and broadcast communications sites in 13 countries,” Campos said.

To improve Internet connectivity, the DICT said the country may need to roll out some 50,000 new towers on top of the 16,000 already built by PLDT and Globe.

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