DICT wants improvement in common tower guidelines
“We stand to lose from $3 billion to $4 billion in investments if we do not make the common tower guidelines more attractive,”Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Ramon Jacinto said.
BusinessWorld/File
DICT wants improvement in common tower guidelines
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 14, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The country may lose as much as $4 billion in potential investments if the existing common tower policy is not improved immediately, according to Department of Information and Communications Technology Undersecretary Ramon Jacinto.

“We stand to lose from $3 billion to $4 billion in investments if we do not make the common tower guidelines more attractive,” Jacinto said.

In a virtual forum, Jacinto said tower companies “are not happy with the present situation” and   may back away from the country’s common tower initiative.

He said IHS, one of the largest tower companies in the world which owns and operates 28,000 towers across Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, has already backed out.

According to Jacinto,  IHS decided to back out because “the recently published policy does not provide the necessary elements that are required for an independent tower company to justify the hundreds of millions of dollars investment.”

He said the tower provider wanted a limit of three or four on the number of participating tower companies considering that there are only three potential major customers in the country.

Jacinto said IHS also preferred that only tower firms which are financially capable and with long term management and operating experience should qualify, and that mobile operators should give these companies a right of first refusal to build at least in the initial four years of the rollout.

He said other firms that have also expressed the same concerns as IHS are Japan’s Sojitz and American Tower Corp.

“The  guidelines are like the present status quo where everyone can build. This model has failed us for the past two decades. IDIA, the largest  association representing the interests of tower companies globally based in the UK,  also echo the same sentiments,” Jacinto said.

Jacinto said that tower rollout should also be mandated. “It is important that the independent tower companies are able to commit and deliver the 50,000 towers according to schedule,” he said.
 

RAMON JACINTO
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