By Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo, Reporter
PLDT, INC. is not interested in partnering with rival Globe Telecom, Inc. for the creation of an “independent” cellular tower company.
PLDT Chairman, President and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company does not see any benefit or need to share any of its network assets.
“At this time, we don’t see any benefit or need to share any of our existing network elements, including our towers,” Mr. Pangilinan said last May 10.
PLDT Chief Corporate Services Officer Ray C. Espinosa said any possible sharing for new towers will depend on the network rollout of PLDT.
“The decision whether we will unload our own towers is actually more financial question for us and a business question as well. Financially I don’t think we need to unload these towers, which I understand Globe said they needed to because of their own unique financial situation, so our situation is not the same in respect of the driver for moving our towers to a third party,” Mr. Espinosa said.
“New towers, we’re willing [to adopt one tenant] but it must be towers where our network is being rolled out. We cannot just base our stations in areas where Globe says this is where we build up the [tower]. It has to be consistent with our network design and network rollout. But obviously we can if it saves us cost, why not?” he added.
Globe last month said it is open to partnering with or being in a consortium with rival PLDT for the creation of an “independent” cellular tower company.
Globe President and CEO Ernest L. Cu had said that working with PLDT and other future players would reduce capital spending for new cell sites.
Globe announced in February that it was in talks with certain parties to form an independent cell tower company and divest some or all of its tower assets, to help speed up the build and deployment of cellular towers in the Philippines, and as part of its network expansion and optimization plan.
Globe General Counsel Froilan L. Castelo had that an independent tower company will help reduce the difficulties in getting permits for the construction of cell towers. Both Globe and PLDT have cited the difficulties in getting permits as the barrier for the construction of more cell sites that will improve coverage.
The country only has 16,000 cell sites, serving a population of more than 100 million people.
The government proposed in January a “common tower policy” where independent firms would build cell towers which would then be leased to PLDT or Globe.
Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls.