Globe Telecom president and CEO Ernest Cu (pictured) said the operator is open to cooperating with rival PLDT or a planned third operator in the Philippines to create an independent tower company to reduce its rising capex, BusinessWorld reported.

The newspaper quoted Cu as saying: “We’ve always been open to sharing. We are not into exclusivity. We like the open market. We think it benefits both of us and costs will be lower,” but noted he had not yet approached PLDT about the tower venture because of competitive issues and possible charges of collusion.

In February the operator said it initiated discussions with third parties about setting up a tower company to speed up the deployment of cellular towers across the country. Globe Telecom said it is looking at divesting all or part of its tower assets, totalling more than 8,000 sites nationwide, to an independent tower company as part of its network expansion and optimisation plan.

Reviewing plans
Globe Telecom CFO Rosemarie Maniego-Eala said the company is reviewing its options on the tower divestment and is deciding which tower assets to retain or divest, BusinessWeek reported. It named UBS as its financial adviser.

Maniego-Eala said during a news conference it doesn’t have estimates for anything around the transaction as it is in the process of scoping out a lot of the items needed for structuring the deal.

Globe Telecom added an independent tower company could help simplify the complex process of acquiring permits and rights-of-way to site locations, which number as many as 26. The operator has long complained the Philippines has one of the lowest tower densities in the world, with less than 20,000 towers serving a population of 101 million people due mainly to government red tape.

The operator and rival Smart Communications, the mobile unit of PLDT, traded places as the market leader by mobile connections over the past two years, with GSMA Intelligence figures showing each held a near 50 per cent market share at end-March.