Manila, June 9, 2022—The International Finance Corporation (IFC) announced today an additional $8.3 million indirect equity investment in EdgePoint Infrastructure (EdgePoint)—a tower platform with operations in Indonesia and Malaysia—to support the company’s entry into the growing Philippines tower market, improving mobile connectivity for people and businesses.
By enabling new market entrants and cost-effective connectivity, the investment will increase mobile network capacity and create a competitive market for tower colocations in the country. IFC’s investment in EdgePoint is part of a larger investment in digital infrastructure assets across emerging markets managed by affiliates of DigitalBridge Group, Inc. (DigitalBridge), a leading global digital infrastructure investment firm. IFC’s investment involves the acquisition of more than 2,900 towers from the Philippines Long Distance Telecoms Company (PLDT) through a sale-leaseback transaction and the construction of additional new build-to-suit towers.
“This equity investment in EdgePoint marks a significant milestone in digital development in the Philippines, paving the way for more people and businesses to have access to mobile services,” said Isabel Chatterton, IFC’s Regional Industry Director for Infrastructure Asia and the Pacific. “With the Philippines poised to grow, strong consumer demand and a vibrant labor market will undoubtedly lead to even greater calls on telecom services. This investment will help meet future needs, which is vital as digital connectivity is so fundamental to helping ensure people and businesses can flourish.”
The quality of mobile connectivity in the Philippines is lacking due to pervasive network congestion. The country ranks 92nd out of 130 emerging markets for mobile internet download speed. The number of mobile subscribers per tower—a measure of network congestion—is comparable to that of low-income countries and more than three times above the average of countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. Such capacity challenges are compounded by limited access to reliable electricity for mobile towers—an estimated five percent of towers in the Philippines are expected to be located in off-grid areas.
“EdgePoint is committed to building a world-class operation to expand next-generation connectivity solutions, bridging the digital divide in the Philippines and creating new job opportunities in the sector. The Philippines telecoms sector has tremendous potential, and we look forward to being part of its future,” said Suresh Sidhu, EdgePoint’s Chief Executive Officer and Founder.
Once burdened by excessive regulation and until recently dominated by just two mobile network operators with no independent tower sharing, the Philippines tower market is now attracting multiple global and regional actors. IFC’s support and investment will continue to increase competition within the telecom sector, which will lead to better service quality and more affordable rates.
Over the past decade, IFC has committed and mobilized more than $6.5 billion in digital infrastructure and services, and more than $2 billion over the last two years alone. In addition to enhanced digital infrastructure, IFC is helping its portfolio companies to align their environmental and social practices with IFC’s performance standards. IFC’s expertise in digital infrastructure will be crucial in building capacity and implementing policies and procedures, enabling sustainable and long-term growth for its portfolio companies.
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.