ABOITIZ infrastructure strategic business unit Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. and its partner Frontier Tower Associates Philippines, Inc. (FTAP) is collaborating with Smart Communications, Inc. to increase the latter’s nationwide connectivity through the construction of “common” network towers.
With its partnership with Smart, Aboitiz InfraCapital has now secured common tower deals with the country’s two largest telecommunication firms following a similar partnership with Globe Telecom last July.
In a memorandum of understanding signed last August 19, Smart, Aboitiz InfraCapital, and FTAP agreed to discuss and negotiate the lease of build-to-suit sites, towers, and passive telecommunications infrastructure and facilities for Smart’s installation of telecommunications facilities and equipment nationwide, particularly in Visayas and Mindanao.
Smart, a subsidiary of PLDT, covers over 90 percent of the country's cities and municipalities with its 2G, 3G, and 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) network, serving over 67.5 million customers.
"We welcome the opportunity to partner with Aboitiz InfraCapital and FTAP, and to accelerate the delivery of wireless services to more areas nationwide," said Alfredo S. Panlilio, president and CEO of Smart.
"By supporting a faster and more efficient rollout of our LTE and LTE-Advanced network, and eventually, our 5G base stations, this collaboration will enable Smart to serve the public even better with faster internet and innovative digital solutions," Panlilio added.
For Aboitiz InfraCapital, its partnership with Smart will also benefit the country as a whole.
“This latest collaboration with Smart is in step with Aboitiz InfraCapital’s goal to ramp up the country’s connectivity through infrastructure. Through these new common towers, Aboitiz InfraCapital, in partnership with FTAP, aims to build the right infrastructure that will advance business and communities,” said Cosette V. Canilao, Aboitiz InfraCapital chief operating officer.
Aboitiz InfraCapital will leverage its parent firm’s extensive experience in building and operating provincial utility networks like Visayan Electric, Davao Light, and Cotabato Light.
Meanwhile, FTAP, a member of established international tower firm Frontier Tower Associates Group, will bring experience gained from rolling out and operating thousands of towers in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) region and the Philippines.
FTAP chairman Patrick Tangney is similarly delighted with the continued momentum toward the expedited rollout of shareable towers in the Philippines and the active participation of the established operators in the common tower initiative.
“We look forward to a long-term partnership with Smart, where we can demonstrate our strong operating capabilities and service offering in support of our customers,” he said.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) targets to build at least 50,000 new common towers across the country in the next seven to 10 years. Recently, DICT announced plans to accelerate the building of 2,500 common towers in “hard to access sites” and government-owned sites.
The Aboitiz Group's strong nationwide presence, coupled with proven project development, execution, and asset management capabilities, will enable the Aboitiz InfraCapital to implement its common tower initiatives efficiently and maximize its full potential.
Aside from its common tower initiatives, other projects of Aboitiz InfraCapital include the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) expansion (as part of the NAIA Consortium) as well as the Bohol-Panglao International Airport and Laguindingan Airport operation & maintenance projects, which have already been awarded original proponent status.
In addition, Aboitiz InfraCapital unit Apo Agua is currently constructing the country’s largest private bulk water supply facility in Davao City. It also has stakes in Lima Water Corporation and Balibago Waterworks Systems, Inc. (PR)