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Globe to spin-off for independent cellular tower company

Globe Telecom plans to spin off its cellular tower assets to an independent tower firm.

Edz Clarkson

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Globe Telecom Towers Company

Ayala-led telecommunications and Internet Service Provider (ISP), Globe Telecom Incorporated, unveiled its plans to outsource the building of cellular towers in order to speed up the operation.

In a press statement published on Thursday, February 8, Globe Telecom said that it has “initiated discussions with independent 3rd parties for the establishment of a tower company to help speed up the build and deployment of cellular towers in the Philippines.”

The wireless carrier added that 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.”

Globe claimed that the plan is intended to maximize the value of its assets, and the telco has yet to determine on whether it will take equity in any future new company.

“We have been allocating over 30% of our total revenues to capital expenditure for the past 5 years and this level will be sustained over a period of time. An independent tower company will be a win-win solution,” said Globe Telecom’s chief executive officer Ernest Cu.

The announcement comes after the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced a new prospective “common tower policy” back in January where independent companies would build cell towers which would then be leased to wireless carriers including Globe and rival PLDT Incorporated.

The executing rules for the said policy, aimed at smoothing the playing field for new players into the industry, is widely anticipated to be released in the incoming weeks.

Globe brass agreed with the assesment that an independent firm would then help the government’s push for a third telco company, noting that the project is for the cellular towers to be open for lease to both new and existing companies in the industry.

“This effectively lessens the barriers that a new entrant has to endure because they will not have to spend the capex to build towers and instead focus on rolling out the necessary network equipment,” Cu said.

“This significantly reduces the time needed for a new player to roll out given the 25 permits and up to 8 months required to build one cell tower. Our move is also consistent with our position of being open to more competition in the telecommunications industry,” Cu added.

Globe said that it would work with the third parties in deciding the locations for new cell towers.

Globe said that around 50,000 more cell towers are needed to optimize network deployment and the company has around 8,000 towers to date.

“We hope to continue working with the government to reduce the red tape that is currently being encountered in the permitting and right of way process,” Cu said.

According to Globe, the Philippines has one of the lowest towers worldwide, with under 20,000 cellular towers serving a population of more than 100 million people.

In comparison with Vietnam, it has 90 million population with has 70,000 towers for its telecommunications.

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