Maharlika keen to invest in rural telco towers | Inquirer Business
JV with foreign firms eyed

Maharlika keen to invest in rural telco towers

MANILA, Philippines  Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC), the company managing the country’s nascent sovereign wealth fund, is in talks with potential foreign partners for a planned joint venture (JV) that would build telecommunication towers, mostly in rural areas.

“We’ll create a JV and roll out the towers,” MIC president and CEO Rafael Consing Jr. told reporters on the sidelines of an event hosted by the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines on Wednesday.

“So we’ll bring in a foreign investor in and work with them and do that,” Consing added.


The MIC boss did not name the foreign companies interested in the partnership, citing nondisclosure agreements. But he explained that the idea is to put up a tower company whose clients are the incumbent telco players in the country.


READ: 80 projects eyed for Maharlika funding

Consing said the plan is currently under study and that the MIC had already identified the rural areas where it would construct cellular towers, which would be a capital-intensive undertaking.

“Today, incumbent telecoms companies won’t do it on their own because it’s going to be their capex. So here, it will be our capex,” he said. ”We’ll create towers that can accommodate both satellite and telecom equipment.”

Digital rural connectivity

Based on data compiled by the Asian Development Bank, the Philippines has only 164 towers per one million people or about 27,000 telecom towers as of 2021, one of the lowest coverage rates in the region. The government estimates that additional 60,000 towers are needed by 2031 in unserved and underserved areas.

As it is, digital rural connectivity is one of the sectors of focus of MIC, which has an initial capital of P125 billion and an authorized capital stock of P500 billion. Consing said the MIC would have its maiden investment in the third quarter of the year, which would be in the renewable energy sector.

READ: DICT counts on Starlink, LGUs to help address rural internet woes


At the same time, the MIC chief said the company is also interested in cofinancing the rehabilitation of Ninoy Aquino International Airport, a public-private partnership project recently bagged by conglomerate San Miguel Corp.

In the same interview with reporters on Wednesday, Consing said the MIC is expected to record its first ever profit this year, which would come from interest income and dividends from investees.

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TAGS: Maharlika Investment Fund, telco, Telecommunication

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