MIDC tower deal to support government connectivity thrust

The development of more common towers in the Philippines will be a boon to consumers, businesses and the bigger economy.

September 18, 2022

The need for a better Internet connection has become more essential when businesses turned to digital for survival following the series of lockdowns to contain the virus outbreak.

During the pandemic, Filipinos found the need for a safer and more convenient method of purchasing goods, same with companies and schools allowing virtual set-ups.

According to a strategic economics consultancy firm AlphaBeta, the Philippines’ Internet economy was estimated to be valued at $7.5 billion. With the growing number of digital users, the figures are expected to grow further by 30 percent to $28 billion come 2025. At the onset of the pandemic alone, Filipinos aged 16 to 64 were said to have spent the highest average amount of time using the Internet.

Digitalization was further emphasized by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. in his first state of the nation address, saying that the government will ramp up the country’s connectivity and digital economy.

The government already executed the first step to digital connectivity improvement under the Duterte administration when it passed into law the common tower policy in a bid to improve information, communication and technology services in the country.

The ultimate goal of the said policy is to free the telco companies from the costly capital of building and operating their own towers, with independent tower companies now engaged in the development of shared tower infrastructures and expansion of wireless network coverage. This allows Internet service providers to focus on their core business of providing improved services that their customers need.

One of the companies that saw the program as a huge benefit to the consumers was Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corporation. In 2021, MIESCOR joined forces with Stonepeak, a US-based global infrastructure investor, to actively pursue tower opportunities in the Asia Pacific region.

Just recently, their joint venture called MIESCOR Infrastructure Development Corp. inked a P26.2-billion tower sale and leaseback agreement with Globe, one of the Philippines’ major telco players.

The deal involves the sale and leaseback of 2,180 Globe towers and related passive telco infrastructure, as well as an additional 750 build-to-suit towers. The agreement also makes Globe the anchor tenant of the towers at a monthly rate of P100,000 per tower for an initial 15 years.

MIDC chairperson Ray Espinosa said MIDC will pursue more opportunities that will help the company achieve its aspiration to become a trusted telco tower operator in the Philippines and eventually, a market leader in the digital infrastructure business.

The development of more common towers in the Philippines will be a boon to consumers, businesses and the bigger economy with technology expected to continue playing an important role in pandemic recovery efforts.

This partnership similarly will benefit us, ordinary consumers, in terms of better network quality and more resilient infrastructure that can quickly recover from, if not withstand, typhoons and other calamities that usually affect our Internet connection.

In taking part in the collective efforts to speed up the deployment and widen the reach of reliable Internet service, companies like MIDC also contribute to the government’s nation-building efforts.

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