Edotco Group : Titans of the Telecommunications Industry

Kyle LivingstoneDennis MoralesLucy Pilgrim
Kyle Livingstone - Project Manager Dennis Morales - Project Manager Lucy Pilgrim - Senior Editor

We speak to Kevin Chong, Director of Group Digital and Analytics at EDOTCO Group, about its purpose in the 5G revolution and the vital role of telecommunications infrastructure companies.

TITANS OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS INDUSTRY

The telecommunications industry is one of the fastest evolving fields, making the world considerably smaller. The main cause of the evolving technology is the vital work of telecommunications infrastructure companies (TowerCos) alongside mobile network operators (MNOs), which provide greater coverage and expansive connectivity. 

The increasing importance of and demand for mobile broadband has created a decisive opportunity for TowerCos, as they instil connectivity to not just everyday users, but also aid governments in achieving their national digitalisation aspirations. 

The burgeoning developments of the telecommunications industry have pointedly accelerated since the inception of 5G technologies. Subsequently, the position of TowerCos is instrumental in effectively utilising the potential of 5G connectivity.  

“The onus is on TowerCos to enable a 4G/5G revolution, as they play an active role to be internally prepared and externally advocatory to policymakers and the regulators. This ensures that regulators can enable the revolution to occur through TowerCos’ strategic relation to MNOs. 

“Without TowerCos, the evolution will still happen but at a materially slower pace,” establishes Kevin Chong, Director of EDOTCO Group (EDOTCO) Digital and Analytics. 

A 5G REVOLUTION 

EDOTCO is on hand to seize the opportunity presented by the advent of 5G, as it plays a pivotal role in the Malaysian digital economy, where the company first established its roots in 2012. 

Since then, EDOTCO has become a leading integrated telecommunications infrastructure services company, with the capability to deliver end-to-end solutions from tower leasing, colocation, build-to-suit, energy, transmissions and maintenance. Through such varied responsibilities, it remains Asia’s first regional and integrated TowerCo. 

With a steadfast workforce of 2,000 employees, expansion is at the heart of the organisation. In the last decade, EDOTCO has grown beyond Malaysia’s borders to encompass nine establishments across Southeast Asia. Consequently, the company has developed a regional portfolio of over 54,000 towers across Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, the Philippines, Myanmar, and Laos in just 10 years. 

Such rapid and successful expansion has resulted in the company attaining the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) unicorn status, whilst also being named one of three Malaysian unicorns by Credit Suisse.

“Traditionally, TowerCos focused on towers, energy and colocations, but the TowerCo of the future needs to look beyond passive infrastructure and focus on the opportunities available in the active space too”

Kevin Chong, Director of Group Digital and Analytics, EDOTCO Group

CONNECTING THE UNCONNECTED  

As an integrated TowerCo, whose socio-economic impact far exceeds that of an MNO, EDOCTO takes great responsibility in helping nations accelerate digital transformation. This is achieved with the principal goal of helping its customers accelerate equitable access to digital connectivity. 

In order to navigate its way through uncharted waters of growth, EDOTCO strives to connect the unconnected.  

“With the introduction of 5G, Malaysia’s digital economy is on the precipice of a significant shift in progress. This, alongside the nation’s policies and blueprints, such as the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint (MyDigital), is key in spearheading the nation’s digital transformation journey,” Chong highlights.  

In conjunction with the transformative effects of technology, EDOTCO has had a substantial socio-economic impact. For example, the company can create value for MNOs by saving approximately 16 to 35 percent of capital expenditure (CapEx) and operational expenditure (OpEx) potential, correlating to USD$10 billion savings in key Asian markets by 2025. As a result, consumers can access a higher quality connection with faster network rollouts, all whilst enjoying a price reduction. 

Furthermore, TowerCos are found to have a positive impact on digital development, as EDOTCO facilitates higher internet penetration for underserved areas that results in innovation and GDP growth, as it presents the potential to create an economic benefit of USD$67 billion for Asia. Thus, the power of TowerCos cannot be underestimated, not only for their economic benefits, but also their sustainable effects. Indeed, TowerCos are expected to reduce carbon footprint by five to 17 million tonnes, due to infrastructure sharing in selected Asian markets. 

The next-generation infrastructure implemented by EDOTCO has provided equitable access across markets since its inception.  

“EDOTCO uses its proprietary Network and Planning Analytics (NaPA) tool to provide insights into potential locations for newer tower sites and reduced building time. NaPa uses powerful geocoding and analytics to generate coordinates with granularity and accuracy,” Chong explains.  

To select the most appropriate sites for MNOs, NaPA overlays three datasets. Firstly, the demand dataset identifies factors such as population size, settlements, and points of interest. Secondly, the supply dataset provides each MNO with subscriber data and coverage signal strength. Finally, NaPA’s matching module identifies whether there are nearby EDOTCO sites which can be used for site sharing. 

Aligning with its strategised approach to technological innovations, EDOTCO also has a certified corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiative which works to make connectivity accessible to remote communities and provide further support to those where the company operates.  

This is conducted via three-subsects that have become a significant part of the company. For example, the Tower2Power, which was launched in 2016, has enhanced the lives of over 24,000 people, through the offering of electricity to homes and schools. Furthermore, the Tower2Community project aids disaster relief efforts which have benefitted approximately 50,000 lives since 2016. Lastly, the Tower2Water initiative provides clean water, sanitation, and awareness on hygiene, which has benefitted approximately 15,000 lives since 2018.

UNTOUCHABLE PROGRESSION  

Alongside the pioneering NaPA tool, EDOTCO also has a close eye on prudent portfolio expansion for both organic and inorganic opportunities that carry the right scale, economics, and returns for its shareholders. As such, EDOTCO has been steadily building its portfolio from a mere 10,000 towers in four home markets to an excess of 50,000 towers in nine markets in just over eight years.  

Evidently, with expansion as a focus of the company, EDOTCO announced the ambition to become the global top five TowerCo with aspirations to enter an initial public offering (IPO) by 2025 as part of its medium-term strategy. Subsequently, EDOTCO’s current target markets are in the ASEAN region and South Asia.  

“After our recent foray into the Indonesian market, we are now looking to expand in Thailand and Vietnam as we believe these markets offer untapped growth opportunities,” Chong details.  

Despite global uncertainties, 2022 was a key year for EDOTCO with two major acquisitions: Indonesia for IDR750 million (approximately USD$50.3 million) and the Philippines for PHP42 billion (approximately USD$748.1 million), showcasing the sheer dominance that the company has within the telecommunications industry.   

“EDOTCO will continuously remain committed to pushing the connectivity agenda throughout the region and beyond,” Chong concludes.

EDOTCO GROUP PARTNERS

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By Kyle Livingstone Project Manager
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Kyle Livingstone is Project Manager specialising in showcasing innovation and corporate success across Asia. Kyle works with c-suite executives, industry titans and sector disruptors to bring you exclusive features. Kyle also works on our Africa Outlook Magazine.
By Dennis Morales Project Manager
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Dennis Morales is a Project Manager specialising in showcasing innovation and corporate success across the APAC region. Dennis works with c-suite executives, industry titans and sector disruptors to bring you exclusive features.