No more telco cell sites
Gov’t implementing common tower policy for all mobile phone firms
The government is implementing a common tower policy, similar to those done abroad, prohibiting local telecommunications companies (telcos) from building their own cellular towers by the first quarter of 2019, Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs Ramon “RJ” Jacinto, announced Friday.
The new policy should speed up the building process, which is currently bogged down with too many permit requirements. It should allow local telcos to focus on improving their services, lower the cost for subscribers, and make it easier for any incoming third player in the industry, as well.
Local telcos will now have to lease space from three to four private tower companies that the government is luring in to shoulder the US$5 billion required to construct 50,000 towers in five years, which the country needs to be at par with Vietnam and its neighbors in the region.
The Philippines, which has a population of 110 million, only has 15,000 towers (half of which are duplicated) while Malaysia, with a population of 30 million, has 25,000 towers. Indonesia, with 250 million people, has 90,000 towers while India, with 1.3 billion people, has 550,000 towers.
Some 60 percent of the world have separate companies hosting towers, he underscored.
Already, Boston, Massachusetts-based American Towers Corporation has signified interest to build cellular towers, at no cost to the government. A leading lessor of space on towers, as well as operator and developer of wireless and broadcast communications real estate, the company’s global portfolio includes 149,000 sites in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Peru, South Africa, and Uganda.
The government will allow the local telcos to keep their existing cell sites but they have the option to sell them to Tower Corporation.
Local telcos have always complained of the red tape in getting permits for their cellular towers. But now, permits must be granted within seven days. If no action is done, the application will be deemed approved, according to Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Officer-in-Charge Eliseo M. Rio Jr.
The Cabinet approved the common tower policy in August, 2017. The guidelines for the common tower policy are expected to be finalized by next month.
By the last quarter of 2018, the government expects to reach an agreement with the Tower Corporation, which has submitted their unsolicited bids. The building of the common towers should start by first quarter of 2019.
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-- edited by julio38 on Jan 20 2018, 10:08 PM