Smart Communications said Monday it signed an agreement with Malaysia-based tower provider edotco Group Sdn. Bhd. and local company Isoc Infrastructure Inc. to accelerate the rollout of cell sites across the country.
Under the memorandum of understanding, Smart will co-locate its mobile phone network facilities in towers jointly built by edotco in partnership with Isoc.
The agreement is in line with the common tower initiative of the Department of Information and Communications Technology which is designed to accelerate the rollout of cellular network facilities across the country.
Smart said its technology group had evaluated the list of available sites of edotco-Isoc and initially identified 71 sites where the two companies could build cell towers that fit within Smart’s own network rollout plan.
“Our agreement with the edotco-Isoc Group is a welcome development that will enable us to roll out our LTE, and, soon, our 5G base stations in a quicker and more cost-effective manner,” PLDT and Smart chairman and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan said.
“We will thus be able to bring more advanced mobile phone services and faster internet to people in more parts of the country more expeditiously,” he said.
Ray Espinosa, the senior advisor to the president and chief executive of Smart, said the company supports a common tower policy which, consistent with constitutional standards, respects the right of a mobile network operator to select and contract with common tower providers that meet the operator’s commercial, technical and financial qualifications and requirements.
Smart is currently in discussions with other common tower companies as a part of Smart’s selection process and intends to sign agreements with companies that meet Smart’s requirements and completion timetable, the company said.
Suresh Sidhu, chief executive of edotco Group, said infrastructure sharing had proven to help mobile network operators alleviate the cost of building and maintaining towers and also allow them to focus on their core business and service offerings.
“Building sharable infrastructure helps address the country’s digital gap, creating the right environment for the nation’s digital transformation, and we are pleased to be marking this partnership with Smart in the Philippines,” Sidhu said.
Isoc Infrastructure chairman Michael Cosiquien said the agreement would open many possibilities, particularly with the Philippines gearing up for 5G and other advanced cellular network technologies.
“The common tower initiative, a global practice, allows telcos to invest in cutting-edge technologies that would enable them to offer advanced mobile phone and internet services and to connect millions of Filipinos with the rest of the world,” Cosiquien said.