Aboitiz infrastructure forms JV for common towers

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. has formed a joint venture with global private markets firm, Partners Group, for the establishment of a telecommunications infrastructure platform called Unity Digital Infrastructure Inc.

Aboitiz InfraCapital and Partners Group will build and operate telecommunication towers and supporting infrastructure across the country through Unity.

The infrastructure arm of the Aboitiz Group said the move supports the government’s vision to improve the country’s internet connectivity in local communities by increasing the number of cell sites of mobile network operators (MNOs).

“We are delighted to be working with global experts from Partners Group in building enabling digital infrastructure and uniting communities,” Aboitiz InfraCapital president and CEO Cosette Canilao said.

“Now, more than ever, it is crucial to build robust, modern, and efficient telecommunications infrastructure to support the country’s economic recovery and growth. With Unity, we hope to create a meaningful impact in the lives of Filipinos who rely on the internet for their livelihood, schooling, and other daily tasks, in cooperation with the government and the MNOs,” she said.

Unity has already secured its certificate of registration as an independent tower company from the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

It is now working on the rollout of its pilot batch of towers with the MNOs, according to Aboitiz InfraCapital.

Under the common tower business model, MNOs can co-locate on Unity’s tower assets to help fast-track expansion, increase service reliability, reduce costs, and lessen redundant sites.

Aboitiz InfraCapital intends to leverage on its strong nationwide presence and proven track record through parent Aboitiz Group for project development, execution, and asset management of a network of infrastructure assets.

Partners Group, on the other hand, is seen drawing on its extensive international experience of successfully building out infrastructure platforms to co-create a leading telecommunications asset that will contribute to the improvement of communications reliability in the Philippines.

Aboitiz InfraCapital said the Unity team includes seasoned professionals from tower companies across the world and the co-founder of successful tower companies Protelindo in Indonesia and Pan Asia Majestic Eagle Ltd in Myanmar.

“The telecommunications infrastructure sector in the Philippines is undergoing rapid change. The urgent need to expand the country’s infrastructure is creating opportunities for new providers to quickly capture market share,” said Grace del Rosario-Castaño, operating director of Unity Digital Infrastructure and member of the board of directors of Partners Group.

“The combination of Unity’s management team, which consists of experienced tower builders, with Partners Group and Aboitiz’s platform building experience, operational expertise and significant local resources, will be highly valuable as we grow the Platform,” Rosario-Castaño said.

Aboitiz InfraCapital last year also launched its small cell sites business to help MNOs accelerate the expansion of their network capacity and coverage using Aboitiz assets.

Small cells are expected to play a key role in the deployment of 5G, which requires antenna density to deliver larger quantities of data at higher speeds.

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