Maharlika fund considers partnership for rural telecommunications towers

Maharlika Investment Corp. in talks with foreign partners for rural telco tower venture

MANILA, Philippines — The Maharlika Investment Corp. (MIC) is in the process of tapping foreign partners for a joint venture in building telecommunication towers in rural areas in a bid to address the digital gap.

On the sidelines of the Financial Executives Institute of the Philippines membership meeting on Wednesday, MIC president and CEO Rafael Consing Jr. said one of the projects that the sovereign wealth fund intends to do is to roll out digital infrastructure through telco towers in rural areas.

“We will create a joint venture and roll out the towers and the telco companies will be our clients,” Consing told reporters.

“We will bring in foreign investors and work with them,” he said.

Consing refused to name the potential investors, but said that talks are ongoing right now.

The project, however, will likely be in the pipeline of investments for next year.

“Studies are being done and we need a bit of time to undertake those studies,” Consing said.

“Today, incumbent telco companies won’t do it on their own because it’s going to be their capex (capital expenditures). So here, it will be our capex,” he said.

Further, the MIC chief noted that building telco towers would help several areas including agriculture and education.

“It will also help the rural entrepreneurs to open up new markets, hopefully nationally and internationally. It can also open up the potential for telehealthcare,” he said.

President Marcos signed in July last year an executive order that reduced the number of permits required to construct telco infrastructure.

This effectively minimized the procedures that industry players have to undergo in pursuing their expansion plans, thereby expediting digital development.

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