PLDT not keen on joining Globe for independent cell tower firm

MANILA, Philippines – PLDT Incorporated is not interested in partnering with rival Globe Telecom Incorporated for the proposed independent company that would share, build, and deploy cellular towers across the Philippines.

"At this time, we don't see any benefit or need to share any of our existing network elements, including our towers," PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel Pangilinan told reporters on the sidelines of a briefing in Makati City last week.

Globe earlier said it is open to sharing its cellular towers with PLDT in a bid to cut costs. (READ: Globe Telecom open to partnering with PLDT for cell tower firm)

Back in February, Globe initiated talks with independent parties to outsource the building of cell towers, as part of its attempt to speed up the process.

Open to new towers

PLDT chief corporate services officer Ray Espinosa said sharing of new cellular towers would depend on the firm's plan to expand its network.

"[T]he decision whether we will unload our own towers is actually more of a financial question for us and a business question as well. Financially, I don't think we need to unload these towers," Espinosa said.

"New towers, we're willing, 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 cellular towers. It has to be consistent with our network design and network rollout," he added.

Tower companies generally look for multiple operators to locate in these towers, which reduces the cost for all locators and increases returns for the tower company.

The Philippines has one of the lowest cellular tower densities in the world, with under 20,000 towers serving a population of more than 100 million people.

In contrast, Vietnam, with a population of 90 million, has 70,000 towers for its telecommunications needs. Both Bangladesh and Pakistan also have more towers than the Philippines with over 30,000 each. – Rappler.com