DICT, Ramon Jacinto resolving issues on common tower policy
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - November 28, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Information and Communications Technology is seeking to resolve differences with presidential adviser for economic affairs and information technology communications Ramon Jacinto with regard to the rules and regulations of the common tower policy as the DICT wants to see the start of construction of the shared infrastructure by the start of next year.

Information and Communications Technology acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said the target is to finalize the common tower policy within the year and start with the rollout of the towers by January.

“Our objective right now is to reach a point where everybody will agree to it and not bring anybody to court. What we are doing is we are trying to settle it by having a dialogue with the telcos because they are the ones that will use the towers, not the government,” Rio said.

Rio said telcos have threatened to bring the government to courts should it push through with the current draft version.

“We are still sorting it out with RJ (Jacinto) because he has been given the mandate by the President in the common towers. But the policies he is pushing for has received a lot of objections. In fact, if we push with that, telcos will bring us to courts and then the process will be prolonged further,” he said.

Under the draft version of the proposed memorandum circular of the DICT and the NTC on common telecommunications infrastructure, a maximum of two independent tower companies will be registered by the NTC in the first four years of the implementation of the common tower policy, after which the NTC may register new tower firms if necessary, especially in rural areas.

Deployment of all telecommunications towers shall be performed only by the NTC-registered tower companies, except when it is unable to do so despite the request from the telco operators.

This provision has received strong opposition from foreign tower companies, incumbents PLDT and Globe, as well as the Philippine Competition Commission.

Jacinto earlier told The STAR that the provision limiting the number of registered common tower companies in the country initially to two is non-negotiable

“RJ is just an adviser. I will be the one that will be brought to the courts and not him because I will be the one signing the policy. I told RJ I need to do something about this,” Rio said.

So far, the government has received two unsolicited proposals for the development of common telecommunication towers.

ISOC Infrastructures Inc., a company chaired by Megawide Construction Corp. co-founder Michael Cosiquien, was the first to submit last July an unsolicited proposal to the DICT to build telecommunication towers to be shared among the country’s telco operators.

Under the proposal, ISOC Infra intends to invest P100 billion over a seven year period to construct 25,000 towers nationwide that could be commonly shared by PLDT, Globe, and an upcoming third telco player.

ISON ECP Tower Singapore Pte. Ltd. also submitted an unsolicited proposal to construct 10,000 to 15,000 towers over five to seven years with investments of $700 million to $800 million.

Aside from the two unsolicited proposals, a number of foreign tower companies have also expressed interest in putting up common towers in the country.

  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with