GLOBE TELECOM, Inc. is keen to resume talks with independent tower providers, as the telco giant waits for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to finalize the common tower policy.
“We were moving very quickly until the regulatory landscape became a bit unclear. Now that things seem to be settling down, (Globe Chief Finance Officer) Rizza (D. Maniego-Eala) would be restarting talks with these guys very soon,” Globe President Ernest L. Cu said in a briefing on Tuesday.
“We’ve always maintained our position…that to us the more people who build towers, the better. Including ourselves, the two telcos,” he added.
In August last year, Globe received clearance from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to incorporate GTowers, meant to be the Ayala-led telco’s tower holding company as it planned to divest its cellular tower assets.
The following month, the DICT released a draft policy on tower companies made by Presidential Adviser Ramon P. Jacinto, who wanted Globe and Smart Communications, Inc. to be prohibited from building their own towers.
Interested tower providers have been signing memoranda of understanding (MoU) with the DICT since December, which assured the agency’s assistance in securing permits for their rollout of towers upon request of the telcos.
Globe General Counsel Vicente Froilan M. Castelo said the company believes there is no need for GTowers to sign an MoU with the DICT.
“It’s our position that we don’t have to, because we’re an existing network operator,” he said, noting that their legislative franchise allows them to build their own towers.
Ms. Maniego-Eala said they can’t determine yet the specifics of how GTowers will function until the DICT releases its common tower policy, which will guide how tower companies may operate.
“We announced last year that we were willing to sell all or some of our passive assets. So we’re waiting for regulation before proceeding with that,” she said.
“Are we going to maintain a share, or how much are we going to sell? Are we going to sell a stake in that tower company that we will be setting up? And to whom? Those are the questions, answers to which we don’t have today,” Ms. Maniego-Eala added.
DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. had earlier said the signing of MoUs with tower providers is meant to help the government in crafting a new common tower policy different from Mr. Jacinto’s draft.
Eight tower providers have already signed MoUs with the DICT: ISOC Infrastructures, Inc.; ISON ECP Tower Pte. Ltd.; IHS Holding Ltd. (IHS Towers); edotco Group Sdn Bhd; China Energy Equipment Co. Ltd.; RT Telecom Sdn Bhd.; Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc.; and MGS Construction, Inc.
This week, Frontier Tower Associates Management Pte. Ltd.; GNI-JTower Inc. Consortium; and American Tower Corp. are also scheduled to sign MoUs with the government. — Denise A. Valdez