Philippine de facto duopoly PLDT (incl. Smart Communications) and Globe Telecom, and New Major Player (NMP) Mislatel are reportedly backing the government’s market-led common and shared passive infrastructure policy, according to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT). Officials from the three groups have expressed their willingness to collaborate on the initiative that involves a dozen or so tower companies – which have already signed agreements with the DICT – to deliver a network of common tower assets that should improve telecommunication services while lowering costs. ‘Shared [passive] facilities through this policy would cut back unnecessary expenses from the telco operators and subscribers will benefit from this,’ said Acting DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr.
The DICT has requested that telcos each submit a list of areas and number of cell sites that their respective operations will need as a working guide for the policy. Since December it has signed agreements with the following towercos: ISOC Infrastructures, Singapore’s ISON ECP Tower, IHS Towers, Edotco Group, RT Telecom of Malaysia, China Energy Engineering Corp, Aboitiz InfraCapital, MGS Construction, American Towers, Frontier Tower Associates Management, Phil Tower Consortium (incl. Global Networks and JTower), and JS Cruz Construction and Development. With the government set to finalise the common tower policy by the second quarter of 2019, all interested towercos must first secure a business contract from the telcos for the government to provide assistance through facilitation of permits, right-of-way, and other government requirements for infrastructure. The country needs a minimum 50,000 cell towers to provide full coverage to the population – the existing total stands at 16,000 covering just 8,000 locations.