By Arjay L. Balinbin, Reporter

ISOC edotco Towers, Inc., a joint venture of local company ISOC Infrastructure, Inc. and Malaysia’s edotco Group Sdn Bhd, is planning to build 70 common towers in Cavite province.

“The 70 towers, we will try to have it done by Q2 (second quarter) next year,” edotco Group Sdn Bhd-Philippines Business Development Director William L. Walters said during a briefing after the groundbreaking for the company’s first common tower in the province on Thursday.

Mr. Walters said one tower will be built in each identified location in the province. The towers will be a “combination of some ground-based towers and some rooftop (types) as well,” he added.

“That’s part of the Vision 2020 of the DICT. We will have more towers that will be felt by our people before the end of 2020,” Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Undersecretary Eliseo M. Rio said.

Asked why they chose Cavite province, Mr. Walters said: “We started in Cavite because our customer looked for certain areas. They gave us certain number of sites… In this case, it is determined by the requirements given by Globe (Telecom, Inc.).”

He said the ISOC edotco Towers is also in talks with the other major telco firms to build common towers in various locations.

“I think everybody is committed to doing something in terms of the shape and what’s that going to look like exactly,” he said.

Suresh Sidhu, edotco chief executive officer, said the JV has committed to spend $100 million for the construction of common towers in the country “in the next three to five years.”

“We envisage to do about, hopefully, 400 towers [in the Philippines] next year and at least 1,500 in the next two to three years,” Mr. Walters said.

The DICT has been pushing for telcos to share infrastructure since 2017, saying every tower in the country serves more than 7,000 subscribers, as opposed to the ideal of having 1,000 subscribers per tower, and the usual 2,000 subscribers per tower in countries with faster internet.

The government is hoping 50,000 shareable towers will be built within the next seven to 10 years to keep up with the tower density in neighboring countries. A common tower policy is also in the works to guide new players.