12th firm allowed to put up cell towers
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has allowed a 12th company to participate in its initiative to bolster the number of cell towers in the country.
The department on Thursday signed a memorandum of understanding with J.S. Cruz Construction and Development Inc.
This will allow the company to enter into tower building contracts with telecommunications providers.
In turn, the DICT will support the tower builder by helping facilitate permits and potentially granting the use of certain government assets.
The government is calling on tower operators to increase the number of cell sites in the country.
At present, incumbents PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, which build and exclusively operate their own towers, control about 17,000 cell sites—a number deemed inadequate to serve their customers.
Because cell towers are shared by their users, an increase in their density typically leads to better mobile services such as calls and internet quality.
Apart from adding towers, the DICT also urged the telcos to share infrastructure.
This would be crucial in the rollout plans of Mislatel Consortium, the venture between businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and China Telecom that was named the country’s third mobile player last November.
PLDT and Globe could also benefit from tower sharing since this could lower costs and spending requirements— savings from which could be passed on to subscribers.
Thus far, the DICT has signed MOUs with 11 other companies.
These are ISOC Infrastructures, Singapore’s ISON ECP Tower, IHS Towers, Edotco Group, Malaysia’s RT Telecom ., China Energy Engineering Corp., Aboitiz InfraCapital, MGS Construction, American Towers, Frontier Tower Associates Management, and Phil Tower Consortium (Global Networks Inc. and JTower Inc.).
In a statement earlier this week, the DICT said representatives from PLDT, Globe and Mislatel signaled their openness to tower sharing following a meeting among stakeholders.
During the consultation, the DICT requested the telcos to submit a list of areas and number of cell sites that their respective operations would need as guide for the policy.
“Shared [passive] facilities through this policy would cut back unnecessary expenses from the telco operators and subscribers will benefit from this,” DICT acting secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. said.
The DICT also expects to finalize a so-called common tower policy by the second quarter of the year, the statement showed.
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