TWO common tower providers are set to sign a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) after securing a deal with Globe Telecom, Inc. for the installation of passive telecommunications infrastructure.

ISOC Infrastructure, Inc., chaired by Megawide cofounder Michael C. Cosiquien, and Malaysia-based edotco Group Sdn. Bhd. signed a tripartite agreement with Globe yesterday, which signals the signing of an MoA with the DICT to receive assistance in getting permits for tower rollout.

“After this, I think within this week or maybe early next week, we’ll sign an MoA with ISOC and edotco,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. said in the signing program in Taguig City.

Globe will lease the 150 shareable cell sites that will be built by the two tower providers in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon (Calabarzon).

“We will be able to deploy the (capital expenditure) that are saved from building passive infrastructure to active infrastructure,” Globe President and Chief Executive Officer Ernest L. Cu said.

The Malaysia-based tower provider, which signed a memorandum of understanding with the DICT in January for assistance in getting regulatory permits, said it will be working with ISOC for its planned operations in the Philippines.

“We are committed with basically creating a company which we will jointly invest in and work together in. We are very, very pleased that we will be able to work…with ISOC. I believe we’ve found the right partner,” edotco Group Chief Executive Officer Suresh Sidhu said.

He noted the two companies are set to make announcements “within the next month or two” on the details of the joint venture.

For ISOC, Mr. Cosiquien said the company is looking forward to working with edotco.

“Definitely we’ll be the local group here, and edotco, with their international experience and extensive experience in the tower business, that’s what they’ll bring to the table,” he said.

The two tower providers said they are also in discussions with other telecommunications firms for possible agreements similar to what was signed with Globe.

Aside from ISOC and edotco, 21 other tower companies have signed an MoU with the DICT to seek assistance in securing permits for rolling out cell sites.

Once these firms sign an agreement with the telcos for a specific number of towers, they will need to sign an MoA with the DICT to solidify the government’s help.

“Our MoA will be specific on the agreement, the contract or MoUs that the tower companies will get from the telcos,” Mr. Rio said.

“Basically the MoA will say that…we will now facilitate the giving of permits with the number of sites that are contained in the MoU,” he added. — Denise A. Valdez