ISOC, Malaysia’s edotco form JV to build cell towers

ISOC edotco - ISOC, Malaysia’s edotco form JV to build cell towers

THE tandem of Malaysia-based edotco Group Sdn Bhd and Filipino firm ISOC Infrastructure, Inc. has formed a joint venture (JV) to solidify its partnership as a telecommunications tower provider in the Philippines.

The two companies announced yesterday the incorporation of ISOC edotco Towers, Inc., a 50-50 joint venture with an initial investment of $10 million.

“It’s an equal partnership between ISOC and edotco. The initial equity we’re putting in is $10 million combined,” ISOC Chairman Michael C. Cosiquien said at a briefing in Makati City.

“The plan is…to invest up to $100 million over the next few years. So roughly that should be the first 1,000 or so towers. That’s the first phase,” edotco Chief Executive Officer Suresh Sidhu added.

The joint venture aims to put up 400 to 500 shareable towers within its first year of operations. So far, it has been tapped by both Globe Telecom, Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. to build common towers in pre-determined locations.

Mr. Cosiquien said the company is also talking to new major telco player Dito Telecommunity Corp. for requests to build out towers.

ISOC edotco Towers is gunning to become a key player in the Philippines’ emerging telco tower industry. Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. noted this is the first time common towers are being done in the Philippines.

“For us, this is a memorable event, and we encourage it,” he said.

The DICT has been pushing for telcos to share infrastructure since 2017, saying every tower in the country serves more than 7,000 subscribers, as opposed to the ideal of having 1,000 subscribers per tower, and the usual 2,000 subscribers per tower in countries with faster internet.

“With this collaboration, we are confident that we will be able to play a part in transforming the Philippines’ telecoms sector, and help lay the right foundation for the country’s digital rebirth,” Mr. Sidhu said.

Aside from the two companies, 21 other tower providers are seeking to enter the country. The government is hoping 50,000 shareable towers will be built within the next seven to 10 years to keep up with the tower density in neighboring countries. A common tower policy is also in the works to guide new players. — Denise A. Valdez

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