Chinese tower firm signs up with DICT
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - January 19, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — China Energy Equipment Co. Ltd. (CEEC), the latest international tower provider which inked a deal with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), has expressed readiness in providing for the bulk of the country’s additional common telecommunications infrastructure needs.

CEEC yesterday became the fifth tower provider that signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the DICT for cooperation to enter in the Philippine market through the construction of common towers.

CEEC vice president Huang Fei, through an interpreter, said the company could provide as many as 50,000 common towers for the Philippines. “We have no problem meeting the 50,000 towers,” Huang said, adding that “in China, we have the experience in manufacturing and maintaining 100,000 towers.”

The DICT said the country is in need of 50,000 additional common towers, on top of the existing 16,000 built by Globe and Smart, to serve more areas and improve services.

CEEC estimates that investment of about $4.4 billion would be needed for 50,000 new common towers.

However, the company said the number of towers it would build in the Philippines would still depend on the demand.

Under the MOU signed yesterday with the DICT, CEEC will need to secure first an agreement with at least one telecommunications operator in the country for the use of the common towers to be built by the company.

Should it secure such deals with operators, the DICT will then enter into an agreement with CEEC in which the government agency will facilitate and extend full assistance to the company in complying with legal, regulatory and administrative requirements for their common tower roll out plan.

“This MOU specifically says that they should get business from the telcos first, then DICT will support them in permits and site acquisitions. We will facilitate,” Information and Communications Technology Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said.

The DICT on Thursday signed similar MOUs with Malaysia-based Edotco Group Sdn Bhd, which is looking to invest at least $1 billion for the construction of 10,000 common telecommunications infrastructure in the Philippines, and the world’s third largest independent multinational tower company, IHS Towers, which for its part intends to build thousands more to address the country’s need for more cellular towers.

The agency had earlier inked other MOUs with ISOC Infrastructures Inc., a company chaired by Megawide Construction Corp. co-founder Michael Cosiquien, and ISON ECP Tower Singapore Pte. Ltd.

Another MOU will be signed between the DICT and another foreign company, American Towers, next week, according to Rio.

“Five (tower providers) is not a big number. In Vietnam they have 20 tower providers. In Indonesia, they have over 50,” Rio said, further stressing the need for the country to have more tower companies and more cellular towers built as well.

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