Globe Telecom Inc. is opposing the government’s proposed ‘common tower’ policy that will prohibit telecommunication companies from building their exclusive cellular towers.
“The exclusivity should not be an issue. What is difficult to implement is telcos cannot build their own towers. I don’t see how that [common tower policy] actually hastens the progress of building connectivity in this country,” Globe president and chief executive Ernest Cu said.
“More cellular sites the better, more sites in the areas that we could acquire the better,” he said.
Cu said, however, that Globe was open to sharing cell sites with other telecom companies.
The Department of Information and Communication Technology earlier adopted a common tower policy to speed up the deployment of cell sites nationwide.
A common tower policy means that operators will no longer be allowed to build towers but should instead lease space from a tower company.
The tower companies will concentrate on rapidly deploying towers to cover the entire Philippines, adequately freeing up the telecom operators.
The Philippine needs at least 50,000 cellular towers to have the proper coverage and provide adequate service. The country only has around 16,000 cellular towers, covering only 8,000 locations.
The government estimated that building a tower would cost an average of $100,000 per tower and would need $50 billion to roll out 50,000 towers nationwide.
Globe said its initiative to expand its network infrastructure was hampered by permitting challenges. At least 25 permits are needed to put up one cell site and the permitting process takes at least eight months to complete, barring major concerns from various agencies, including local government units, homeowners associations among others.
Globe teamed up with Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corp. to build a robust and reliable network for its customers’ expanding data needs.
“This collaboration with Shell is breath of fresh air considering the enormous challenges we encounter in establishing network infrastructure such as cell sites,” Cu said.
The two companies identified 14 Shell service stations as target sites, most of which are located along major thoroughfares and major areas of coverage, significantly improving mobile experience in surrounding areas.
Globe is spending P210 million to build cell sites in 14 Shell service stations nationwide.