The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a US$40 million loan agreement with Tiger Infrastructure Philippines to build 380 telecommunications towers in the Mindanao and Visayas regions of the Philippines. The infrastructure will enable mobile network operators to provide a full range of mobile and data services to consumers.
The financing comprises US$25 million from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and a US$15 million loan from the Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP) administered by ADB.
Telecom towers support one or more wireless telecommunication antennae. The project will support common tower sharing, which will allow multiple mobile network operators to lease the same location while Tiger Infrastructure will be responsible for construction, land leasing, operation, and maintenance. All telecom equipment installed on the towers will belong to the tenants.
“Digital connectivity’s impact in helping to achieve Sustainable Development Goals cannot be understated, especially in areas like education, healthcare, financing, and payments,” says Suzanne Gaboury, director general of ADB's private sector operations department. “This project will improve access to the digital economy in the underserved regions of Visayas and Mindanao and have a tangible impact on the quality of life for local communities.”
The Philippines has only 164 towers per one million people or about 27,000 telecom towers as of 2021, one of the lowest coverage rates in the Asian region. The Government of the Philippines estimates that an additional 60,000 towers are needed by 2031 in unserved and underserved areas.
Tiger Infrastructure is jointly owned by Cell Tower Services Pte Ltd (CTSP) and Daily Life Renewable Energy Pte Ltd (DLRE), both incorporated in Singapore. CTSP is well established in the telecom towers business with projects around the world, while DLRE is involved in customized design, engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning services for renewable energy systems across the Asia-Pacific region.
LEAP is an ADB-managed fund capitalized with a US$1.5 billion commitment by the Japan International Cooperation Agency. Established in 2016, LEAP is focused on the delivery of high-quality and sustainable private sector infrastructure projects that reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency, and offer accessible and affordable healthcare, education, and communication services to ADB’s developing members.