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DICT Eyes More Towers Despite Mislatel’s Woes

The Department of Information and Communications said the legal hurdle on the new major telecommunications player would not hinder the government’s plan to accelerate the build-up of more telecommunications infrastructure.“We will go ahead with the common tower initiative even if we have only two telcos because the fact remains that we still need an additional 50,000 towers to improve our connectivity,” said Acting ICT Secretary Eliseo Rio said.Rio’s statement came at the heels of a pending Senate Committee on Public Service resolution that will determine if Mislatel, the franchise holder of the winning new major player consortium, can get Congress’ approval regarding its request to grant the transfer of controlling interests.

“Common towers can bring down the cost of our telecommunication services so there is definitely a need for this initiative, whether we have to two or three or even four telcos,” Rio added. He noted that the common tower project would approximately bring in $4.4 billion in investment and create thousands of jobs, dubbing it as the biggest DICT’s “Build Build Build” project without using any public funds. Earlier, RT Telecom Sdn. Bhd., the second Malaysian-based company and the sixth tower provider signed an agreement with the DICT for the construction of new common towers nationwide. The deal entered by RT was the same as the five previous firms, including ISOC Infrastructures Inc., ISON ECP Tower Pte. Ltd., IHS Towers, Edotco Group and China Energy Engineering Corp., where the government would support companies in facilitating permits and right-of-way, and provide other assistance for infrastructure should they secure a contract with any of the telco operators.   Rio said that two or three more tower companies have expressed to follow suit in signing the same agreement.

The Philippines has 17,000 cellular towers nationwide, serving 7,000 subscribers per tower.RT Telecom Sdn. Bhd. Committed to construct at least 15,000 cell sites in the Philippines for more than five years. Subhash Devan, chief operating officer of RT Telecom earlier told reporters the company would be spending $800 million to $1 billion to roll out 15,000 cell sites nationwide.“We see a lot of growth in the Philippine market and we are very familiar with the rollout in the Philippines,” he said.RT Telecom is under the umbrella of Rohas Tecnic Berhad, a global infrastructure company in power, telecommunication, water and steel fabrication industries. The company built over 3,000 sites with various companies in Southeast Asia and other regions.

RT Telecom has implemented similar “full turnkey” rollout for Ericsson Telecommunications Inc., Globe Telecom, Digital Mobile Philippines Inc. and Smart Telecom and constructed more than 1,000 cell sites spanning throughout the Philippines.—Manila Standard

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