By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said Sunday he was anticipating the sale of wireless communications towers by the PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. to any of the seven independent private firms, which will be putting up new towers for collective use.
“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,” he said in a statement after the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) authorized Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. (AIC) to build new towers for shared use.
“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 said.
AIC became the sixth entity authorized by the DICT to construct new common towers after ISOC Infrastructures Inc.; ISON ECP Tower Pte. Ltd.; IHS Holding Ltd.; edotco Group Sdn Bhd; China Energy Equipment Co. Ltd. and RT Telecom Sdn Bhd.
Campos, deputy minority leader, expressed hope that the common towers would quickly boost Internet connectivity all over the country.
“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,” he said.
Campos has been seeking improved public access to faster internet connection speeds at a lower price.
“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,” she 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,” he said.
The DICT had cited the need for the country to roll out some 50,000 new towers on top of the 16,000 already built by PLDT and Globe to improve internet connectivity.