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PH’s 1st shared cell tower to rise in Ilocos

/ 05:02 AM October 17, 2019

CAOAYAN, ILOCOS SUR—In the Northern Luzon town of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur, the Philippines’ first shared cell tower is set to rise.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Wednesday afternoon by LCS Holdings Inc., controlled by Ilocos politician Luis “Chavit” Singson and Thailand’s UA Withya PCL. The tower is expected to be operational in a few months.

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This is expected to be the first of at least 50,000 shared cell towers being pushed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). The lack of cell sites— the Philippines has about 18,000 versus Vietnam’s 70,000 towers—is often cited for spotty mobile services.

“True to our commitment, we are also concentrating our efforts on prioritizing the deployment of our common towers in regional and rural areas,” Singson said on Wednesday.

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“We believe that, in months to come, we would be able to narrow the gaps of the quality of the mobile services between those in the metro areas and those in the regional and rural areas,” he added.

Singson, incumbent mayor of Narvacan, has ambitions to become a national player in the telco space. In November 2018, he made an unsuccessful bid in a government-led auction for a new mobile license.

On Wednesday, LCS announced that third telco Dito Telecommunity, a venture between Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy and China Telecom, would be its launch partner.

“This ceremony marks the beginning of both Dito’s and LCS’ extensive infrastructural rollout in support of our drive to deliver long-awaited, much-deserved, state-of-the-art mobile service for the Philippines,” Adel Tamano, chief administrative officer at Dito, said.

The Municipality of Caoayan mainly relies on fishing and agriculture to support the local economy and its roughly 20,000 residents. But the town, the birthplace of Elpidio Quirino, also suffers from bouts of poor mobile service quality.

Eliseo Rio Jr., undersecretary at the DICT, has called for the faster rollout of shared cell sites.

“We need to add more towers as soon as possible,” Rio said. “We are using this initiative, which is being done here in Caoayan.”—MIGUEL R. CAMUS

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TAGS: Caoayan Ilocos Sur, cell tower, LCS Holdings Inc., luis ‘chavit’ singson
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