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Smart inks deal with common tower providers

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By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

PLDT, Inc. wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. said Wednesday it has joined other network providers in signing deals with common tower companies.

Smart Vice-President for Legal and Regulatory Affairs Roy Cecil D. Ibay said the company has tapped edotco Group Sdn. Bhd. and ISOC Infrastructure, Inc. to provide common towers.

“Smart Communications has also already signed MoUs with two common tower companies, namely edotco and ISOC. We’re also in negotiations now with Aboitiz (InfraCapital, Inc.) and several others,” he said at a common tower stakeholders’ meeting in Quezon City.

Mr. Ibay was not able to provide details on the deals when asked by reporters.

Last week, PLDT-Smart Chief Revenue Officer Alfredo S. Panlilio said the company continues to talk with tower providers and the government on the common tower initiative. “Similarly with Globe (Telecom, Inc.), we have said that we are very open to do common towers,” he told reporters Thursday.

Globe had earlier signed two deals with two tandems of tower providers: the joint venture of ISOC Infrastructure, Inc. and edotco Group Sdn. Bhd.; and of Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. and Frontier Tower Associates Philippines.

This covers the construction of 150 towers in the Calabarzon area for ISOC and edotco, and about the same number of towers in undisclosed locations with Aboitiz and Frontier Tower.

In June, Now Telecom Co., Inc. also signed an agreement with ALT Global Solutions, Inc. to put up approximately 50 towers across the country. ALT Global said it targets to build 1,000 towers within the next three years.

The signing of agreements by telcos with tower providers will allow the independent tower companies to receive assistance from the government in securing permits for building telco infrastructure. This is expected to expedite the roll out of shareable towers that any of the telcos may lease.

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.

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