Aboitiz InfraCapital signs deal to operate telco-tower network

ABOITIZ InfraCapital Inc. has joined the roster of groups vying to cut a slice off the upcoming telco- towers market in the Philippines, after signing a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the construction, operation and maintenance of a network of towers in the country on Thursday. 

Aboitiz InfraCapital Chief Operating Officer Cosette V. Canilao said her group saw the need to build a robust, modern and efficient network of telecommunication infrastructure, as it is “very crucial to the economic development of the Philippines.” 

She said because of its reputable and strong track record, the Aboitiz Group is well equipped to offer “its services to provide a solution to such pressing need.”

“The Aboitiz Group possesses extensive experience in building and operating utility networks, for example, through its distribution utilities Visayan Electric Co. Inc. and Davao Light and Power Co. Inc. Moreover, the Aboitiz Group has established a strong track record on the management and execution of complex projects,” Canilao said.

Currently, the ICT department is signing memoranda of understanding signing week after week with common-tower providers to fast-track the deployment of tower infrastructure in the Philippines. 

So far, the government has signed six deals with tower companies, namely IHS Towers, Edotco, Isoc Infrastructure, iSON Towers, China Energy Equipment and Rt Telecom Sdn. Bhd.

Other parties such as Globe Telecom Inc. and American Towers have so far signified their intention to participate in the establishment of the tower-sharing industry in the Philippines. 

While the DICT is implementing this initiative, the government has yet to create a formal common- towers policy, which should spell out the rules and regulations for tower sharing. 

The policy is being drafted by Ramon P. Jacinto, the presidential adviser for ICT, who just recently mellowed on his position of limiting the number of tower players from two to four. 

Tower sharing is not a common practice in the Philippines, despite the country’s lack of ICT infrastructure, as reflected in the latest report from TowerXchange. 

The country only has 17,850 towers, way below its neighbors infrastructure count. 

The lack of tower infrastructure has resulted in spotty signal for texts, calls and mobile data, causing the country to occupy a laggard spot in most Internet speed reviews in the region. 

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Lorenz S. Marasigan

Sources regularly see Lorenz at telco and transport conferences. He graduated from the University of Santo Tomas, and has been covering the beat since 2013. He likes to featurize stories, and tries to find another angle for spot news. He travels during his spare time, and likes his coffee black -- no cream, no sugar.
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