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PLDT to sell 6,000 towers for over P50 billion

Telecommunications giant PLDT Inc. is disposing off 50% of its tower assets as it moves to adopt the government’s “common tower policy.”

At a press briefing on Thursday, PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said the telco received bids for 6,000 towers — nearly half of its roughly 11,000 to 12,000 towers — amounting to “north of P50 billion.”

In August 2021, Pangilinan announced that PLDT was considering selling its tower assets.

To recall, the government implemented a “common tower policy” in which telcos will only have to lease towers instead of building their own  to reduce the cost of maintenance  and in turn cut the cost of telecommunications services.

During the briefing, PLDT president Alfredo Panlilio revealed that the telco received initial bids from 19 bidders which were later reduced to six.

The bidders are “common tower players globally” and “are strong well-funded entities,” Panlilio said.

The PLDT chief said the company would award two contract packages of about 3,000 towers each to two winning bidders.

For her part, PLDT chief financial officer Anabelle Chua said the telco was expecting to award the towers to the winning bidders “some time in the second quarter.”

After the award, PLDT will enter with the winning tower companies into a transition period, wherein the telco will gradually transfer the tower assets and expect to complete it “within the year.”

Chua said that PLDT would only sell its physical tower structures and passive equipment to the bidders, not its main radio equipment.

Following the disposal of the tower assets, she said the company would rent  towers on a monthly basis.

Chua said proceeds from the sale of the tower assets would "be used to pay up our debt.”

PLDT also reported a core telco net income of P30.2 billion in 2021, 8% higher than its P30-billion target.

For 2022, the telco is allocating P76 billion to P80 billion in capital expenditures, lower than the P89 billion spent last year as the company aims to achieve a positive cash flow. —NB, GMA News