19 tower providers to build 35,000 cell cites.
THE towercos duopoly initially pushed by Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs and Information Technology Communications Ramon Jacinto has totally crumbled as not only two but 19 tower providers have been allowed to put up cell sites which would serve as the common tower of telecommunication companies.
For still unknown reasons, Jacinto failed to attend the hearing held yesterday by the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology headed by Victor Yap regarding the common tower.
“Wala na, nakakuwan na ‘yun, we are also talking with the Presidential Adviser Ramon Jacinto na more or less say, ‘yung two tower niya, he softened up already on that issue,” said Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) acting Secretary Eliseo Rio in an ambush interview following the hearing conducted by House committee.
Jacinto has been pushing for the number of private companies to be allowed to set up cell towers in the country to be limited to two. However, various sectors have opposed his proposal.
According to Rio, 19 firms have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DICT to set up the towers. Five of these are local companies while 14 are international firms.
Under the MOU, 50,000 towers worth $4.5 billion are targeted to be set up nationwide within seven years.
Rio said the Philippines is lagging behind as far as construction of such towers is concerned, adding that Globe and Smart have set up only 18,000 towers as compared to Vietnam which already has 70,000 cell site towers.
Rio added that the telcos are open to sharing their towers which now have 500 sites while there are 500 government sites for the common tower.
“In fact, DICT lang, we have about 180 towers na nakatayo na but hindi nagagamit. This one, we are going to offer as common towers,” said Rio.
“Kapag naitayo na ang mga common tower ay ang mga provider ang bahalang magbenta o magparenta sa mga telcos kung saan lumabas sa pagdinig na ang renta kada buwan ng mga telcos sa ibang bansa sa isang common tower ay hanggang $2,000 kada buwan,” Rio said.