Macquarie Capital, the principal investment arm of Macquarie Group, announced the closing of an equity investment in Phil-Tower Consortium Inc (PhilTower), an independent tower company in the Philippines.

PhilTower – Macquarie Capital Backs Growth

Established in 2019, PhilTower constructs and operates towers, small cells (outdoor), and distributed antenna systems (indoor) for wireless carriers in the Philippines, such as the incumbents Globe Telecom and PLDT. Additionally, PhilTower is part of Southeast Asia digital infrastructure group Global Network, Inc. (GNI), which operates in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Myanmar.

Macquarie Capital’s investment targets the development of telecommunication infrastructure in support of the 4G and 5G connectivity needs of the Philippines. Specifically, PhilTower enables wireless carriers in the Philippines to quickly and cost-effectively expand and enhance their network. To this end, PhilTower supports coverage improvements in suburban and rural areas and contributes to capacity enhancements, through network densification and in-building coverage, in urban areas.

Roll-Out Plan

PhilTower is currently rolling-out 1.0k+ sites across the Philippines for wireless carriers. Particularly, the company has partnerships in-place with Globe Telecom and PLDT:

  • Globe Telecom: in June 2021, Globe Telecom partnered with PhilTower to roll-out 500 new cell sites in metropolitan Manila (National Capital Region) and Luzon (north and south)
  • PLDT: in 2020, PLDT’s Smart Communications signed agreements with 6 tower companies to build ~200 new cell sites. Indeed, one of these tower companies was PhilTower

Overall, Macquarie Capital’s backing will enable PhilTower to ramp-up its tower roll-out program and expand geographically in the Philippines. Presently, the company has identified a near-term target to deploy 2.0k sites for wireless carriers in the Philippines.

Transaction Advisors – PhilTower

PhilTower and Global Network’s financial advisor was Redpeak Advisers.

Philippines Towers – Market and Competitors

PhilTower is supporting the Common Towers policy of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), a branch of the Philippine government. Over the next three years, the DICT has set a target to roll-out 5.0k new cellular towers. While longer-term, the DICT has set a target to roll-out 50k towers in the Philippines by 2026.

Beyond PhilTower, a number of tower companies are making inroads into the Philippines to capitalize on its tower growth. For example, these tower companies include American Tower, edotco, Pinnacle Towers / Frontier Tower Associates (KKR).

American Tower

American Tower operates in the Philippines via its subsidiary Transcend Towers Infrastructure. As of Q3 2021, American Tower owns 23 sites in the Philippines, adding 5 sites quarter-over-quarter.

edotco

As of Q3 2021, edotco owns 13 towers in the Philippines, which have 13 tenants (i.e., 1.0x tenancy ratio). During the quarter, edotco added 7 sites to its portfolio.

Adam Simmons is the Founder & CEO of Dgtl Infra. He started his career with an S&P 500-listed big box retailer, in an operations management role. Adam's entrepreneurial "itch" led him to start a 5G-driven company, focused on innovative retail solutions using augmented reality and shoppable videos, which was eventually sold to an advertising and consulting group. After, realizing the potential of 5G, Adam shifted his efforts towards investing in the "building blocks" of 5G - known as digital infrastructure, completing a number of strategic investments, buying cellular towers, data centers and fiber networks.

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