PLDT unit already eyeing new data hub

PLDT Inc. information and communications technology subsidiary ePLDT is planning to invest at least $600 million to build its 12th data center facility in the Philippines.

Victor Genuino, ePLDT president and chief executive, told reporters last week that the global average investment to build a data center was between $6 million to $9 million per megawatt (MW), “so that’s kind of a range that we are looking at for a 100 megawatt [facility].”

The move was said to be part of the company’s goal to boost the country’s regional competitiveness and bring in much-needed investments.

“What’s gonna happen next year is we are going to launch the first phase of our data center in the first half of 2024, for the 11th. Then we expect the full data center fit up of 50 MW total load to be finished by the first quarter of 2025, ” Genuino said.

“Then after that, we hope to see, depending on the take up of the space, whether we need to start building already. I think what is important for us is we already secure the property, and we already start preparing for the designs of the data center because the technology is changing so fast.”

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By 2025, Genuino said ePLDT would decide whether to build a normal, hyperscaler or generative AI (artificial intelligence) data center.

The firm’s 11th and biggest data center, Vitro Sta. Rosa, has already received several colocation requests from industry leaders, including hyperscalers, banks, business process outsourcing firms, carriers, and even the national government.

Once completed in early 2024, VITRO Sta. Rosa will be the country’s largest and most advanced data center designed to be Rated-3 Certified and Rated-4 Ready with a total power capacity of 50MW.

With Vitro Sta. Rosa on the rise and a 12th data center facility underway, ePLDT’s power capacity will increase to around 200MW once both sites are activated.

Currently, ePLDT offers a total rack capacity of nearly 10,000 and owns a network of 10 globally certified Vitro data center facilities located across the country.

ePLDT parent firm PLDT Inc.’s shares fell by P52 to close at P1,176 apiece on Friday.