Tower firm to build 600 cell sites

Affordable and better mobile connectivity in the Philippines is getting a boost as the International Finance Corp. has arranged a $70-million funding for cellular tower firm Communication and Renewable Energy Infrastructure (CREI) Philippines Inc.

CREI Philippines, part of global telecommunications infrastructure group Two Thirty Three Holdings SA, plans to build more than 600 new towers across the Philippines by 2023.

One of the core business activities of CREI Philippines is to develop, acquire, and operate telecommunication towers that can be shared by multiple network operators, thus boosting efficiency while lowering the cost of ownership.

The funding package consists of a $25.5-million loan from IFC and a parallel facility of $44.5 million.

IFC believes that the loan, aside from creating a competitive market for tower collocations, will help increase mobile network capacity, allowing operators to expand high-speed mobile networks across the Philippines and offer better services at affordable rates.

IFC noted the number of mobile subscribers per tower, a measure of network congestion, in the Philippines is more than double the regional average.

“Despite the challenging market conditions triggered by the pandemic, IFC’s long-term funding will allow us to meet our ambitions of expanding our digital infrastructure portfolio in the Philippines,” CREI chief executive Kadri Hakim said in a joint statement.

According to Jean-Marc Arbogast, IFC country manager for the Philippines, digital connectivity is more important than ever for businesses and people to thrive.