Elijah Felice Rosales – The Philippine Star
October 7, 2023 | 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — Integrated telco PLDT Inc. has raised P2.8 billion from its asset sale with Frontier Tower Associates Philippines Inc. and expects to get P9 billion more from the transaction over the next few months.
In a disclosure before the Philippine Stock Exchange, PLDT said it has transferred the first batch, consisting of 230 towers, to Frontier.
Apart from the initial closing, PLDT said the master services agreement for the leaseback of the towers took effect yesterday.
The telco also seeks to hand over the remaining 782 towers to Frontier over the next few months once conditions and requirements are met.
PLDT wants to speed up the realization of its goal to become an asset light company.
By freeing up its portfolio of thousands of passive assets, PLDT could focus on putting up active infrastructure, as it no longer has to operate and maintain the towers.
It could also focus its efforts on improving the coverage and reliability of its connectivity services.
“The sale and leaseback of towers are in line with the PLDT Group’s strategy to push for an asset light balance sheet, while providing superior network quality and a better customer experience,” PLDT said.
PLDT added that it supports the government’s program of building a strong digital infrastructure program to allow Filipinos to access affordable and reliable internet services.
Last March, PLDT signed an agreement with Frontier for the sale and leaseback of a total of 1,012 towers.
The deal, amounting to P12.1 billion, raised the number of towers sold by PLDT to more than 7,500 since it started monetizing passive assets in 2022.
Under the agreement, PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. would lease the towers for 10 years at competitive terms as the first tenant.
This would help Smart achieve its target of touching 550 new points of service nationwide in the short term.
On the other hand, Frontier’s purchase of the assets supports its expansion in the Philippines.
It also signed an agreement with Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc. for the procurement of 3,529 towers worth P45 billion.