TBGI eyes Chinese partner for tower rollout plan
Listed Transpacific Broadband Group International Inc. (TBGI) announced its intention to partner with a Chinese telecom equipment supplier to participate in the government’s common tower initiative.
TBGI, in a stock exchange filing on Thursday, said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with a China state-owned enterprise, which would assist in site acquisition and postconstruction activities. It did not name the Chinese company.
In the filing, TBGI said it was planning to start with 3,000 tower sites covering its existing clientele of private schools using its broadband service. The towers will cost about $100,000 per site while the budget for each site acquisition was seen at about $7,000.
The business will provide TBGI with P1 billion in revenue “in the next five years.” TBGI earned almost P38 million in revenue last year.
“TBGI’s long and close working relationships with two major institutional organizations is the key consideration for the Chinese company to gain access in a short time to many and various strategic sites that dot the archipelago,” it said in its filing.
“Moreover, TBGI’s congressional telecom franchise and existing business in satellite and communications are other stages of cooperation,” it added.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology released last month the rules on the rollout of an initial 2,500 cell towers to address spotty mobile connectivity.
This is part of its broader common tower initiative involving of as many as 50,000 towers, valued at $4.4 billion.
Almost two dozen companies have signified their intention to participate. The players include American Towers, China Energy Engineering Corp. and Filipino firms such as ISOC Infrastructures and Aboitiz InfraCapital.
Decongesting the country’s cell networks would lead to better mobile services such as calls and internet browsing. PLDT and Globe control a combined 17,000 towers.
A tower sharing system will also help with the rollout plans of Mislatel Consortium, the venture between businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and China Telecom that was named the country’s third mobile player last November.
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