Is Philippines operator PLDT selling its towers?

Is Philippines operator PLDT selling its towers?

If recent reports are anything to go by, another major operator, this time Philippines-headquartered PLDT, is considering selling some of its passive infrastructure.

In fact Bloomberg has reported that the telecommunications, internet, and digital service holdings company is said to be considering selling its telecom towers for about $800 million.

The same source that broke the story to Bloomberg suggests that the company is already working with an adviser on the planned disposal.

The next part of the plan – to lease back the towers from whoever now owns them – is, of course, part of a trend that has been played out across numerous regions of late. However, it may be slightly unexpected, given that the company had announced in December that it had plans to build 2,000 new cell sites in 2021.

This was said to be a response to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s warning last July that government could expropriate public utilities afforded to the operators unless they improved their “lousy” services by December.

According to Bloomberg, PLDT said in late December that it had also increased the number of its LTE and 3G base stations to over 58,000 while also rolling out an additional 313 5G base stations to accelerate its 5G commercial services nationwide, the whole effort to be funded by some pretty big asset sales. The latest news, if correct (and PLDT isn’t commenting just yet), would be an interesting adjustment of strategy.

Interestingly, however, there has been some identifiable activity on the service improvement front. The Philippine Star website recently reported that PLDT has migrated over 153,000 homes and business establishments from copper to fibre in the first seven months of this year, said to be a critical part of improving the quality of service provided to homes and businesses across the country.

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