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2 more firms offer help to build crucial cell sites

/ 05:16 AM January 31, 2019

Malaysian tower builder RT Telecom is joining other groups seeking to participate in a  government-led effort to roll out more cell sites across the country.

Officials of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) led by acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. and RT Telecom signed a memorandum of understanding that would pave the way for the DICT to provide a supporting role in facilitating permits and allowing the use of certain government assets.

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This is the sixth tower builder that had signed an MOU with the DICT. The other five were: ISOC Infrastructures, which partnered with Malaysia’s OCK Group, ISONECP Tower Singapore Pte. Ltd, Nigeria’s IHS Towers, Malaysia’s Edotco Group and China Energy Equipment Co. Ltd.

The DICT is inviting tower builders and operators to meet the Philippines’ shortfall of about 50,000 cell towers. Telco incumbents Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. control over 17,000 towers, a figure deemed inadequate and a key reason for the poor mobile network quality in certain areas.

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The government is stepping up its drive to encourage telcos to share infrastructure to lower costs for their operations and for their subscribers.

An infrastructure sharing policy would also help speed up the rollout of Mislatel Consortium, the venture between businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp. and China Telecom that was named the country’s third mobile player last November.

In a separate development, listed Transpacific Broadband Group International Inc. said it planned to also build cell towers and that it intended to sign a similar arrangement with the DICT.

The company said its subsidiary Transpacific One Network Inc. was planning to build as many as 15,000 towers. It said it had already identified 3,000 common tower sites.

Presidential adviser Ramon Jacinto, whose office is handling the common tower rules, earlier expressed his openness to allow more operators.

Previously, Jacinto insisted on a maximum of two tower operators for the first year. He said this would help nurture the business of the tower operators. That policy view, however, had been questioned by lawmakers, the Philippine Competition Commission and the DICT.

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TAGS: cell sites, Eliseo Rio Jr., Officials of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT, RT Telecom
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