Globe: PH needs more than 2 tower companies to catch up

GLOBE Telecom reiterated its call for the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) not to limit the building of cell sites to two independent and private tower companies under the proposed common cell tower policy.

Globe General Counsel and Senior Vice President Atty. Froilan Castelo said the company supports the proposal to put up tower companies in order to address the lack of cell sites in the country.

However, he said the DICT should allow as many players as possible and should also allow current and future telcos to have a stake in them.

“The proposed rule of limiting the entire tower sub-industry again only to two independent, private tower companies is anti-competitive, retrogressive, and against global best practice,” Castelo added.

The Philippines has 16,500 cell sites only and needs an additional 50,000 towers at least to properly serve 113 million subscribers today.

“The establishment of tower companies in the Philippines will provide quicker deployment of cell sites, remove redundancy in tower locations, save capital resources, as well as provide a level-playing field for mobile network operators. Tower companies (towercos) can emerge as an important sub-industry of telcos,” Castelo said.

“Right now, it takes an average of 25 permits and adding up the time to acquire right-of-way, it will take an average of 8 months to build a single cell site. These supposed two private independent towercos will not be better than us because they will be subjected to the same difficulties we are currently facing,” Castelo said.

“The main objective should be to build more and augment the efforts of the telcos to densify the country will cell sites. It is not the establishment and giving favor to the business of towercos owned by private entities,” he said

Under the draft policy rules, only two independent private tower companies with up to 100% foreign equity will be created to solve the infrastructure problem in the country.

These two private firms will have exclusive rights to build, own, and operate 25,000 cellular towers in seven years, with mandatory sharing to all mobile network operators.

This number however represents only half of what the country needs today to improve services. Under the proposed rules, mobile network operators will be prohibited from investing in the two independent tower firms as well as building their own cell sites and towers.

Castelo said the proposed common tower policy is contrary to the national policy under Section 4 of the Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995 which states that a “healthy competitive environment shall be fostered.”

TAGS: Department of Information and Communications Technology, DICT, Globe Telecom
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