INTERVIEW: Suresh Sidhu, CEO of Malaysia-based Axiata’s tower business edotco, revealed Asia Pacific still holds plenty of growth potential for the company, with Vietnam a key target for expansion.

The nation’s state-owned operator Viettel has bold plans for deploying 5G and is also seeking a slice of the broader mobile ecosystem with the launch of a taxi and delivery-booking app, along with the launch of an e-commerce site.

Sidhu (pictured), told Mobile World Live edotco is “keen to see what opportunities Vietnam could hold for us”.

It will also continue to seek out expansion in other Asian markets, where Sidhu there is a “tonne of growth” potential because levels of tower co-ownership in the region are lower than the global average and also because edotco is “good at Asia and we’d rather invest in countries we know”.

Excluding India and Indonesia, only about a third of towers in Asia are co-owned compared with the global average of two-thirds, “so our footprint has an upside of about a third”, he said.

Last month, it announced the beginning of a partnership with ISOC Infrastructure to build 150 towers for Globe Telecom in the Philippines.

“We think that’s the first step to creating a big shared infrastructure business in the country,” Sidhu said, noting its ambitious 5G plans creates a lot of room to improve coverage, particularly since the country has less spectrum shared among mobile operators than most.

Philippines operators “are keen” to share infrastructure, he said.

The company operates 28,500 towers across Malaysia, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Watch the full interview here.