By Ashley Erika O. Jose, Reporter

EDOTCO Towers Inc. is allocating P3.7 billion for its network expansion alone in the country, the company’s top local official said, citing the need to increase connectivity in the Philippines.

“In 2024, we have earmarked over P3 billion as investments to build and expand our network,” Suraj Narayanan Kutty, EDOTCO Philippines country manager, told BusinessWorld in an interview on Wednesday.

In total, the company had acquired more than 2,000 towers, Mr. Kutty said, adding that the company had acquired close to 2,000 towers in 2022, which is considered its major activity due to the sale and leaseback, and another 700 towers this year.

In 2022, the company had set its goal of building nearly 500 towers in Luzon to help the government achieve its target of 66,000 new tower builds by 2026.

“Our focus has changed. The rollout targets have shifted mainly because the customer demand has changed,” he said.

Last year, PLDT Inc. said it had received about P57.7 billion from the sale of 4,435 telecom towers — with over 2,000 towers being acquired by EDOTCO Towers.

The company expects increased investment in the Philippines’ telecommunications structure, he said, as the country needs more towers to help improve internet connectivity.

The country’s mobile network operators are using shared towers to help accelerate and eventually lower the cost of digital transformation in the country while also helping improve the state of the Philippines’ internet connectivity.

“Tower sharing is the very key [as it results in] fastest speed and adds to savings,” he added.

The company is also planning to tap energy companies to power its towers with renewable energy such as solar energy, Mr. Kutty said.

“Typically solar power reduces cost by 20-25%,” he added, citing the rising cost and volatility of diesel generators especially in remote areas.

He said the company is in talks with energy companies for the planned shift, which he said might start by next year.

“Right now, none of our towers are solar powered. The team right now is assessing the towers, the energy requirement of towers,” he added.

EDOTCO Group Sdn. Bhd. owns and operates about 54,000 towers spread across Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Philippines, Myanmar, and Laos.

Last year, Manila Electric Co. announced that it would energize the expansion of EDOTCO Towers.