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Herbert Smith Freehills advises Unity on purchase of 650 mobile towers in the Philippines from Smart

19 December 2022 | Southeast Asia


Leading international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised Unity Digital Infrastructure on the acquisition of 650 mobile towers for an anticipated PHP9.165 billion (approx. US$165 million) from Philippine wireless communications and digital services business Smart (a PLDT subsidiary).

"The need to fund 5G and other technology investments has fuelled the sale of mobile operators' tower infrastructure in Southeast Asia this year," said Singapore-based joint global Sector Lead Partner for TMT Mark Robinson. "Buyers lock-in revenues from those operators for ongoing use of the infrastructure, but may also receive orders for additional infrastructure or benefit if other tenants use the infrastructure."

Unity Digital Infrastructure is backed by Aboitiz InfraCapital and Partners Group and builds and operates telecommunication towers and supporting infrastructure across the Philippines to help local MNOs boost connectivity and service reliability.

The core team that advised Unity was made up of Singapore corporate partners Mark Robinson and Jamie McLaren, senior associate Theodore Heng and associate Chris Madden, supported by Singapore partner Harry Evans and senior associate Clare Hubert.  

Herbert Smith Freehills and its Asia associate firms have advised on mobile tower deals worth nearly US$4.2 billion in the past year.

Recent deals include a series of disposals totalling US$1.62 billion by Globe Telecom, the US$1.17 billion sale of Solusi Tunas Pratama (STP) in Indonesia, the US$750 million sale and leaseback of 4,200 mobile towers by Indosat Ooredoo in Indonesia, and the US$434 million sale and leaseback of 4,000 mobile towers by Telkomsel in Indonesia.

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