The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) in the Philippines says that this month it has inked separate agreements with no fewer than six as yet unnamed telco-tower firms – understood to hail from China, Malaysia, Nigeria, Singapore and the US – to help accelerate the rollout of new cell sites across the country. Contrary to a recommendation from the Presidential Adviser’s office to allow just two tower operators to build out infrastructure, DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr., said DICT has already signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with two such operators, with four more expected to complete their own MoUs this month. Previously, the Philippines’ Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs Ramon Jacinto advised that the government would limit the number of tower builders to two, over concerns over the business viability of having more. However, Rio’s office argues that it would be better to let market forces decide how many towercos local industry can accommodate, adding that speeding up the deployment of new cell towers would ease the entry of the New Major Player (NMP) – the so-called ‘third telco’. It is thought that with talks already underway with PLDT Inc./Smart Communications and Globe Telecom, the first new towers could be built as early as mid-February.