$30M investments readied for telco common towers

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    (From left) Jess Chua and Michael Cosiquien, ISOC Holdings president and chairman, respectively; Department of Information and Communication Technology Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Sidhu, ISOC edotco Towers Ltd. country managing director William Walters, edotco Group director for engineering Ir Kumari Nalini and edotco Group chief regional officer Wan Zainal at the groundbreaking ceremony.
    (From left) Jess Chua and Michael Cosiquien, ISOC Holdings president and chairman, respectively; Department of Information and Communication Technology Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, Sidhu, ISOC edotco Towers Ltd. country managing director William Walters, edotco Group director for engineering Ir Kumari Nalini and edotco Group chief regional officer Wan Zainal at the groundbreaking ceremony.

    Tower company ISOC edotco Towers Ltd. is investing $10 million to $30 million to build over 1,000 common towers in two to three years.

    ISOC edotco has started construction of its first common tower in the Philippines following a groundbreaking ceremony in Bacoor City yesterday.

    ISOC edotco, a joint venture of local ISOC Infrastructure Inc. and Malaysia-based edotco Group Sdn Bhd, is targeting to build 400 to 500 towers within the first year of operations.

    The company plans 1,000 towers within the first phase of operations which will span from two to three years.

    The joint venture has pledged to invest $100 million in the Philippines over the next three to five years.

    Suresh Sidhu, ISOC edotco chief executive officer, said the company will build 70 towers in Cavite by the second quarter of 2020.

    The construction of shared infrastructure aims to reduce the country’s subscriber-to-tower ratio which currently stands at over 7,000 subscribers per tower.

    This is three times the ideal ratio prescribed by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) causing Filipino mobile users to frequently encounter coverage issues due to network congestion.

    “The push for common towers in the Philippines is also driven by telco users’ increasing appetite for faster connectivity speeds and lower latency amid an increasing appetite for data. In meeting this demand, operators are set to invest in 4G and 5G deployment while modernizing existing 3G networks to improve customer experience. To do this successfully, the sector requires more towers, antennas, and base stations across the nation,” Sidhu said.

    ISOC edotco’s shared towers will be leased out to the country’s two major telecom firms Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications and to new player DITO Telecommunity.

    The company has signed a memorandum of understanding with Globe for the construction of an initial 150 towers in Calabarzon in June.

    PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Communications signed a deal last August to co-locate its mobile phone network facilities in towers built by ISOC edotco.

    The agreement is in line with the common tower initiative of the Department of Information and Communication Technology designed to accelerate the rollout of cellular network facilities throughout the country.

    The technology group of Smart has evaluated the list of available sites of ISOC edotco and has initially identified around 71 sites to build cell towers that fit within Smart’s network rollout plan.

    Sidhu said the company is also in talks with the new telecom player DITO but has no final deal yet.