Common tower plan to push through sans Mislatel
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will still pursue a tower sharing policy even without a third telco player.
The DICT issued the statement in response to a possible hitch in the post-qualification of Mislatel Consortium, the venture backed by Filipino company Udenna Corp. and state-run China Telecom.
In recent weeks, lawmakers have pointed out violations committed by the shareholders of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co., the telco franchise of Mislatel. Having a valid franchise is a requirement in the post-qualification phase.
“We will go ahead with the common tower initiative even if we have only two telcos because the fact remains that we still need an additional 50,000 towers to improve our connectivity,” DICT acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio said in a statement.
“Common towers can bring down the cost of our telecommunication services so there is definitely a need for this initiative, whether we have two or three or even four telcos,” he added.
The government estimates tower companies would need to invest around $4.4 billion to meet the country’s backlog of 50,000 towers. Incumbent players Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc. control a combined 17,000 towers. Both build and exclusively control their own tower assets, leading to the duplication of their mobile networks across several sites.
With shared towers, a single site can be used by multiple telco operators. This will also speed up the rollout of towers since duplication will be erased.
Having greater tower density will improve the quality of mobile services such as calls and internet browsing.