PLDT, Globe seen selling their16,000 towers

PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. will likely end up selling their wireless communications towers to any of the seven independent private firms putting up new towers for collective use, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said Sunday.

“We see both PLDT and Globe eventually assigning their 16,000 towers to any or all of the non-aligned firms providingshared 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 saleto the independent tower entities,” Campos, who is counting on common towers to quickly boost Internet connectivity all over the country, said.

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 Pte. Ltd.; IHS Holding Ltd.; edotco Group SdnBhd; China Energy Equipment Co. Ltd. and RT Telecom Sdn Bhd.

“The immediate beneficiary of new commontowers isthe 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.

Campos has been batting for improved public access to faster Internet connection speeds at a lower price.

He is author of a bill that seeks to reclassify Internet access as a “basic telecommunications service” so that regulators may compel suppliers to provide rising connection speeds under pain of harsh administrative fines.

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

The consortium would spend less to build fewer towers on its own, thus enabling itto spend more for fasternetwork 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 outsome 50,000 newtowers on top of the 16,000 already built by PLDT and Globe.

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