PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Malaysia-based tower provider edotco Group and Philippine-based common tower firm ISOC Infrastructure.
Under the agreement, Smart will co-locate its mobile phone network facilities in towers jointly built by edotco in partnership with ISOC.
The agreement is in line with the common tower initiative of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) designed to accelerate the roll-out of cellular network facilities throughout the country.
The technology group of Smart has evaluated the list of available sites of edotco-ISOC and has initially identified around 71 sites where edotco-ISOC will build cell towers that fit within Smart’s network roll out plan.
“Our agreement with the edotco-ISOC Group is a welcome development that will enable us to roll out our LTE, and, soon, our 5G base stations in a quicker and more cost-effective manner,” said PLDT and Smart Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan. “We will thus be able to bring more advanced mobile phone services and faster internet to people in more parts of the country more expeditiously.”
“Smart fully supports a common tower policy which, consistent with constitutional standards, respects the right of a mobile network operator to select and contract with common tower providers that meet the operator’s commercial, technical, and financial qualifications and requirements,” said Ray C. Espinosa, senior advisor to the president and CEO of Smart.
Smart is currently in discussions with other common tower companies as part of Smart’s selection process and intends to sign agreements with companies that meet Smart’s requirements and completion timetable.
ISOC is a Filipino-owned company engaged in property development and management, cold chain logistics, and infrastructure.
The edotco Group, meanwhile, specializes in end-to-end solutions in the tower services sector including co-locations, build-to-suit, energy, transmission and operations and maintenance (O&M).
In partnership with the ISOC Infrastructure, it was one of the first tower service companies to sign agreements with the DICT.
Suresh Sidhu, chief executive officer of edotco Group, said: “Infrastructure-sharing has proven to help mobile network operators alleviate the cost of building and maintaining towers and also allow them to focus on their core business and service offerings. Building sharable infrastructure helps address the country’s digital gap, creating the right environment for the nation’s digital transformation, and we are pleased to be marking this partnership with Smart in the Philippines”.
“The agreement opens a breadth of many possibilities, particularly with the Philippines gearing up for 5G and other advanced cellular network technologies. The common tower initiative, a global practice, allows telcos to invest in cutting-edge technologies that would enable them to offer advanced mobile phone and internet services and to connect millions of Filipinos with the rest of the World,” Michael C. Cosiquien, ISOC Infrastructure chairman, said.