ALT-GLOBAL Solutions, Inc. is looking to build 300 to 400 towers for the country’s telecommunications companies starting next year, as it aims to become a major player in the tower-building industry.

Sherwin G. Hing, co-chairman of the independent tower company, told BusinessWorld in a recent interview that the company is currently building 50 towers hosting cellular sites in the Samar-Leyte area.

“It’s our aim to be one of the major players… We have in fact secured some fundings for this,” he said.

ALT-Global has expressed its intention to DITO Telecommunity Corp. and Smart Communications, Inc., the wireless arm of PLDT, Inc., that it is ready to build 300 to 400 towers nationwide, Mr. Hing said.

Both DITO and Smart are also ALT-Global’s partners for the first 50 towers it is building this year, he added.

“Right now, we have built around 30 towers already,” he also noted.

The company wants to take advantage of Republic Act No. 11494 or the Bayanihan to Recover As One Act (Bayanihan II), an economic stimulus program that also grants the government the power to simplify the permit process for building cell towers.

ALT-Global is among the first 23 tower companies that have secured a provisional license to own, construct, manage, and operate common towers hosting cellular sites.

Last year, the company signed a partnership agreement with Taiwanese telecommunications manufacturer Remotek Corp. to provide telco firms with in-building solutions or IBS.

“It’s exciting. We believe that the telco space will have its golden years in the next five years,” Mr. Hing said, noting that Smart, DITO, and Globe Telecom, Inc. are expected to invest more in their commercial 5G networks.

He said the company is spending about P400 million for the 50 towers alone.

“Next year, for the 300 to 400 towers, we are looking at a couple of billions already,” Mr. Hing added.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) issued in June a department circular that sets the policy guidelines on the co-location and sharing of telco towers for cell sites, which would provide “quality, efficient, fast, affordable, and secure ICT (information communications technology) services.”

Under the guidelines, mobile network operators or telcos may build new telecommunications towers, but they should “provide ample access slots” for other players and the DICT to “co-locate, mount or install their respective antennas, transmitters, receivers, radio frequency modules, radio-communications systems, and other similar active ICT equipment.”

The DICT had pushed the concept of tower-sharing to improve tower density, which is said to be one of the lowest in the region at 4,000 subscribers per tower. Allowing common towers means more than one telco can use a single tower, thereby increasing the number of subscribers being served by each tower. — Arjay L. Balinbin