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RJ softens stance on common tower issue

/ 05:12 AM January 25, 2019

Presidential adviser Ramon Jacinto softened his stance on Thursday and said he was open to allowing more tower companies to join a government-initiated effort to increase the number of cell sites in the Philippines.

Jacinto told reporters on the sidelines of a Senate hearing that he was open to increasing the previous limit of two tower companies to as many as four operators.

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The previous cap was questioned by senators, the Philippine Competition Commission and even the Department of Information and Communications Technology, which would ultimately implement the initiative known as the common tower policy.

Previously, Jacinto maintained a tough stance on the limit, saying it would help nurture the business of tower operators.

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“We can allow more than two but we cannot allow everyone to join,” Jacinto said.

He said he would keep provisions in the draft rules that telco giants Globe Telecom and PLDT would be barred from building new towers and having any ownership in the tower companies.

The issue on shared towers was tackled in a Senate hearing led by Sen. Grace Poe, chair of the committee on public services.

Poe said she supported more tower players to help meet the government’s target for an additional 50,000 cell towers on top of the current 16,000 sites controlled by PLDT and Globe. Because cell towers are shared by their users, an increase in their density typically leads to better mobile telecommunication services.

“I believe in competition. The more players there are, the more incentive for them to compete and provide better services,” Poe said as Jacinto defended his view on a two-player structure.

The DICT has pursued agreements with tower companies–ISOC Infrastructures, ISON ECP Tower Singapore Pte. Ltd, IHS Towers, Edotco Group and China Energy Equipment Co.–  as it offered support in the permitting process should they succeed in sealing deals with telcos.

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TAGS: cell sites, Philippine Competition Commission, Ramon Jacinto
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