Unity Digital Infrastructure Inc. (Unity) has announced it has signed a Sale and Purchase Agreement and a Master Agreement with PLDT Inc. (PLDT), through its subsidiaries Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Digitel Mobile Philippines (Digitel), for the acquisition of 650 telecommunications towers and related passive telecommunications infrastructure for PHP 9.2 billion through a sale and leaseback transaction.
Unity is a joint venture between Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. (AIC) and the global private markets firm, Partners Group.
The telecom towers that will be purchased are located in the Visayas and Mindanao areas, which add to Unity’s high-quality portfolio of strategic locations across the country.
Andrew Kwok, managing director, head of private infrastructure, Asia, Partners Group, said: “The Philippines is a rising technology powerhouse and one of Asia’s fast-growing digital economies. However, despite the country’s increasing reliance on digital technologies, it is behind other Southeast Asian countries in terms of network connectivity. We see Unity playing a key role in addressing this gap through building a tower portfolio, which is aligned with our vision of transforming it into the leading telecommunications infrastructure platform in the Philippines.”
Through building its portfolio of tower properties, Unity plans to serve as a one-stop infrastructure provider for mobile network carriers.
“Aligned with the Aboitiz Group’s Great Transformation journey, the acquisition of these assets further expands Unity’s digital footprint and presence in the country. This initiative will continue to support our commitment to improve and provide reliable connectivity to mobile network operators, which would, in turn, advance the growth of the Philippines’ digital economy,” said Aboitiz InfraCapital President and CEO Cosette Canilao.
The recent development in Unity’s tower infrastructure portfolio also supports AIC’s mission of enabling businesses and uplifting communities through better infrastructure.
“We’re happy to have sealed this agreement with PLDT that will support Unity in its thrust of building robust and inclusive telecommunications infrastructure for the future. Our mission is to ensure better connectivity for all Filipinos across the country with the deployment of more towers in the next five years,” said Unity CEO Robin Sarmiento.
“As a result of this partnership with Unity, we expect further enhancements to our network quality, service excellence and customer experience across the Visayas and Mindanao. The improved connectivity will support the digitalization of the Philippines, bringing benefits to all Filipinos,” said PLDT and Smart President and CEO Alfredo Panlilio.
In line with the Philippines government’s common tower policy, Unity said that its ongoing investment in tower infrastructure assets will help improve information and communication technology across the country.
“We believe that, through these digital portfolio expansion initiatives, Aboitiz will be able to help address the gaps in connectivity and Internet access in the country. It also positions us as a leader in digital infrastructure, which greatly contributes to our goal of becoming the Philippines’ first techglomerate,” said Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz.
The acquisition of existing towers and the development of new towers accelerate Unity’s goal of becoming a major player in the local common tower industry. Currently, Unity Digital Infrastructure has more than 650 active sites in various stages of development, including 265 already constructed macro towers and around 500 poles for small cells in key cities nationwide.