Globe Telecom Inc., the second-biggest telecommunications firm, created a new company that will be in charge of the divestment of its tower assets.
Globe, owned by conglomerate Ayala Corp., disclosed to the Philippine Stock Exchange it began the process of incorporating a separate tower holding company.
“As soon as it gets approval from the SEC, this will operationalize the divestment of all or part of its tower assets through a separate company,” Globe said the move would support the company’s thrust to improve internet connectivity in the Philippines.
Globe early this year announced it initiated talks with independent third parties to manage the tower assets.
“As a major industry player, we understand what this country needs to improve the internet experience of our customers. Putting up more towers based on global standards within strategic areas will make spectrum use more efficient,” Globe president and chief executive Ernest Cu said.
“We should work together and find all means to supplement the build for towers—either through telcos or tower companies. This, in turn, will bring us closer to first world internet connectivity,” he added.
The company has been pushing for the establishment of tower companies similar to those found in other developed countries.
“This initiative will help accelerate the deployment of more cellular towers in the Philippines and foster competition,” Cu said.
With the proposed tower holding company, any player can do outright lease of the towers using standard, non-discriminatory commercial terms.
The lack of cellular towers has long been identified as the greatest barrier to seamless mobile internet connectivity with no viable short-term solution due to permitting issues.
“We remain open to collaborate with new and existing players in the interest of national development,” Cu said.
The Philippines has one of the lowest tower densities in the world with under 20,000 towers serving 100 million people.
Approximately 50,000 more towers should be built in order to serve the current voice and data traffic that grows exponentially every year.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology was expecting to accredit a tower company by the first quarter of 2019 to build more cellular base stations nationwide.
It said there would be no limitation to the ownership structure and that foreigners can own up to 100 percent of the tower company.
Each tower company is projected to invest $2 billion.