Ayala group, Singapore firm plan large data center

By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter

THE Ayala group and the local unit of a Singapore-based service provider plan to build a 124-megawatt data center that they claim to be the largest in Metro Manila.

In a launching event on Thursday, ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (Philippines) — a joint venture between Globe Telecom, Inc., Ayala Corp. and Singapore’s ST Telemedia Global Data Centres (STT GDC) — said that it is expanding its footprint in Asia with the project.

The joint venture, STT GDC Philippines, is building the data center in Fairview, Quezon City.

“It will actually be the largest hyperscaler facility in Metro Manila,” said STT GDC Philippines Carlomagno E. Malana at the groundbreaking ceremony, adding that the project is going to be “the only announced hyperscaler facility in the Philippines.”

The first phase of the five-part project, STT Fairview, is expected to go live in the first quarter of 2025 with a capacity of 28 megawatts. The whole project will have more than 83,000 square meters of gross floor area across four buildings.

“It’s a testament to our commitment to providing world-class infrastructure and services to the digitalization of our nation,” Mr. Malana said.

“To date, we have completed 90% of our design, and truly ready to move forward targeting to be live with our first phase in early 2025,” he said.

Bruno Lopez, president and group chief executive officer of STT GDC, said that the investment in the project will be around $1 billion.

“We are looking to deliver an actual investment of as much as $1 billion, that much I can see. And that’s not a small amount because it will filter out in terms of value. That’s just the capital expenditure that we will put in, but there’s also the flow-over effects of that investment,” Mr. Lopez said.

Globe President and Chief Executive Office Ernest L. Cu said the development of the data center is timely as the current international geopolitics created an opportunity for the Philippines.

“A lot of locations around the world, around Southeast Asia for that matter, have been eliminated as possible locations for data centers,” Mr. Cu said.

“Hong Kong, which is one of the traditional locations, because of recent tensions between China and the US, is no longer a viable location. Singapore is great, it’s neutral. However, they’ve got a limitation on land and power,” he added.

The project is said to be the first hyperscale data center in Metro Manila, which

STT GDC Philippines expects the project to ignite the shift to hyperscale developments in the Philippines as data center companies see the entry of more hyperscale players in the country.

“STT Fairview is just the first facility that we are developing alongside our partners Globe and Ayala at the new data center campus in Fairview,” the company said in a statement.

“Our investment in this data center and the Philippines more broadly is both significant and long-term. And we are committed to helping the Philippines fulfill its huge digital potential over the long run,” it added.

To date, STT GDC Philippines operates five data centers, which have a total capacity of 22 megawatts and with more than 95% of its power coming from renewable energy sources.

In a separate event, Globe announced the closing and official handover of 431 telecommunication towers to Frontier Tower Associates Philippines, Inc. for a total cash consideration of P5.5 billion.

The turned-over assets are composed of 82% ground-based towers and 18% rooftop towers, bringing the total towers turned over by Globe to 3,711 valued at P47.9 billion out of an expected P96.3-billion sale.

“We are more than halfway done towards the full turnover of the towers to Frontier and this transaction could not have happened at a more opportune time,” Globe Chief Finance Officer, Treasurer and Chief Risk Officer Rosemarie Maniego-Eala said in a press release.

“Despite persistent economic headwinds, we remain committed to provide the country seamless digital connectivity and we are glad to partner with Frontier, who alongside Globe, will redefine connectivity for the better,” she added.

On Thursday, shares in Globe closed five pesos or 0.29% higher to P1,730 each.