The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Philippines has formally approved a request from Globe Telecom to establish an independent tower company tasked with installing cell towers across the country to deliver telecommunication services to its own subscribers and other operators. In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Globe confirmed that the SEC has approved the incorporation of GTowers, adding: ‘The establishment of a tower company will help speed up the building and deployment of cellular towers in the country’. Previously, the Ayala-led telco had said it would offload its entire tower asset portfolio in favour of the newly-established tower company – upon approval by the SEC. Further. It notes that GTowers may also lease capacity to ‘existing and new telcos’ to improve services and fulfil the government’s ambition to encourage a third telco to enter the market.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is hoping to accredit two independent tower companies by the first quarter of 2019, followed by a six-month building period for its common tower policy. The lack of towers is often cited as one of the barriers to entry in the Philippines: currently, there are fewer than 20,000 towers serving 100 million subscribers – approximately 50,000 additional towers are needed to handle current and anticipated levels of voice and data traffic.