Globe Telecom, the largest wireless carrier in the Philippines, today announced further details on its plans to pass more than 1 million homes with fiber and build-out 2.0k towers in 2021.
Overall, Globe Telecom operates under two key segments: wireless and fixed line. Firstly, the company’s wireless segment serves 76.6 million subscribers through two brands, which are Globe and Touch Mobile (TM). Secondly, Globe Telecom’s fixed line segment provides fixed broadband internet services to 3.8 million homes and offices across the Philippines.
For 2021, Globe Telecom has earmarked $1.4bn (70bn Philippine pesos) of capital expenditures towards both mobile network upgrades and fiber roll-outs. Below we highlight relevant details for both digital infrastructure build plans.
Fiber Infrastructure Build-Out – Globe Telecom
Globe Telecom plans to bring fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity to more households in the Philippines. To do this, the company intends to pass more than 1 million homes with fiber infrastructure in 2021. Specifically, this fiber build-out for 2021, represents 2.5x more fiber passings than the company achieved during 2020.
Globe Telecom notes fiber is needed in the Philippines to meet rising demand for faster internet services and new work-from-home requirements. As part of its network upgrade, the company will replace existing copper lines with fiber infrastructure. In turn, this fiber connectivity ensures a superior data experience and stable connection for its subscriber base.
Fiber Infrastructure Upgrade Rationale
Globe Telecom states that a fiber connection can provide maximum speeds of 1 gigabit per second, as compared to copper, which uses ADSL technology, and can only achieve speeds of 15 megabits per second at best. Unlike traditional copper cables, which suffer from significant data signal loss over long distances, fiber only experiences slight data signal degradation.
Additionally, the company’s migration from copper to fiber will enable energy savings. Specifically, Globe notes that fiber networks consume less energy to transmit data, and therefore require fewer cooling and control systems.
Overall, these characteristics of fiber ensure consistent, stable connectivity for Globe Telecom’s fixed broadband customers. While at the same time, offer Globe Telecom the opportunity to reduce its ongoing operating expenses.
Towers Infrastructure Build-Out – Globe Telecom
In 2021, Globe Telecom also plans to build 2.0k towers in the Philippines. Indeed, this represents a 50%+ increase on the 1.3k new tower sites the company built in 2020. To do this, the company plans to enlist the help of independent tower companies through build-to-suit (BTS) programs.
Tower partners for Globe Telecom could include companies backed by global private equity firms. Firstly, Pinnacle Towers, through Frontier Tower Associates, is an independent tower company focused on the Philippines backed by KKR. Secondly, Edgepoint Infrastructure, a portfolio company of Digital Colony Partners II, could also make inroads into the Philippines towers market as part of its expansion in Southeast Asia.