Globe Telecom holding talks over independent tower firm

15 February 2018 | James Pearce


Globe Telecom has opened discussions with an unnamed company about plans to outsource the building of its cell towers.

The Philippino operator it has initiated discussions with independent third parties for the establishment of a tower company

Globe is looking at divesting all or part of its 8,000-strong cell tower portfolio to independent tower companies as part of its network expansion and optimization plan, it said.

Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu said, "We have been allocating over 30% of our total revenues to capital expenditure for the past five years and this level will be sustained over a period of time. An independent tower company will be a win-win solution. It will monetize assets for capex use and help maintain our consistent dividend policy. In addition, this greatly helps President Duterte’s initiative to open the telco industry to new players.”

The Philippines has one of the lowest tower densities in the world, with under 20,000 towers serving a population of 100 million people. A contrast with other countries in the region highlights this low density. Vietnam, with a population of 90 million, has 70,000 telecoms towers.

 Bangladesh and Pakistan have more towers than the Philippines with over 30,000 each, although both of their populations are bigger than that of the Philippines. 

Approximately, 50,000 more towers will need to be built in the future to optimize network deployment, Globe claims.

“The plan is for these towers to be open for lease to new and existing players. 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. This significantly reduces the time needed for a new player to rollout 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."

The news comes as Globe reportedly unveiled its new fully integrated, cloud-based WAN for enterprises. The technology, which is based on software defined WAN technology is being released via the operator’s Globe Business unit, according to GMA News.