Telcos open to DICT proposed MoU on towers

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By Denise A. Valdez, Reporter

TELECOMMUNICATION firms are supportive of the government’s policy on shared infrastructure assets such as cell towers, but have yet to get details on the proposed memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the regulator wants to sign with them.

After the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said on Monday that it wants to sign MoUs with telcos for coordination in the common tower initiative, Globe Telecom, Inc. General Counsel Vicente Froilan M. Castelo said in a phone call on Tuesday they “haven’t seen it yet.”

He noted, however, that if the MoU means they will be consulted on the locations of the common towers to be built, then they favor the idea “in principle.”

“That’s good, because this will… improve the number of cell sites in the country… As long as we are…consulted as to the location of these cell sites, this would be okay,” Mr. Castelo said.

Spokesperson Adel A. Tamano of the incoming third telco Mislatel consortium said they are also open to the proposal, but have not seen the proposal.

“This will be a great help not only for the roll-out of the Third Telco but equally so in providing better services for all telco players,” Mr. Tamano said in a text message.

Smart Communications, Inc. declined to comment until the DICT presents the proposed MoU. But Smart Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan had earlier expressed support for the common tower plan.

On Monday, the DICT issued a statement saying it wants to involve the telcos in an MoU with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) as part of its target to install 50,000 common towers all over the country over the next seven years.

The MoUs, it said, will identify recommended sites for towers, initiate coordination among the DICT, NTC and the telcos regarding priority locations and “connect more missionary areas through a possible government subsidy.”

This development comes after the DICT signed MoUs with 15 common tower providers eyeing to enter the Philippine market.

DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. said getting the telcos on board will help the government’s common tower initiative, a part of which is the scheduled release of the revised draft policy on common tower regulation in the second quarter.