The Department of Information and Communications Technology asked telecom companies to share with common towers after President Rodrigo Duterte slammed companies for alleged lousy services.
DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II encouraged telcos to support and avail of the benefits of the agency’s Common Tower Initiative, which the government expects to stimulate the growth of the independent tower company sector.
There are 24 independent tower companies registered with the DICT. The initiative widens the base of common towers in the country towards better internet quality and more extensive telecommunications service coverage.
Honasan said the telcos’ collocation in the common towers that are being rolled out across the country would enable them to service the wider population and deepen and enhance wireless network coverage and quality of ICT services that would contribute to a healthy, competitive ICT environment.
“Collocating with common towers will also help telcos cut back on their expenses allocated in building up and maintaining their own towers; expenses which,” Honasan said.
The DICT earlier issued a joint memorandum circular to remove red tape by streamlining the procedures and requirements for permits, licenses, clearances, certificates and other requirements in the construction of shared passive telecommunications tower infrastructures or common towers, reducing processing time from 200 days to just 16 days.
“We recognize that telcos have existing commitments with some independent tower companies to collocate on the latter’s common towers for shared cell sites—we commend them for that,” Honasan said.
“We encourage telcos to take full advantage of the benefits of our common tower initiative, and engage with the ITC sector more actively, especially when it comes to providing connectivity to the unserved and underserved areas in the country,” he said.
The Philippine needs at least 50,000 cellular towers to be able to have the proper coverage and provide adequate service. There are only around 16,000 towers, covering 8,000 locations.
Duterte, in his fifth State of the Nation Address, called on concerned companies and agencies, including the DICT, to implement appropriate measures to boost connectivity, promote electronic governance (e-governance), utilize ICT for education and toughen up the country’s cybersecurity.
“Rest assured that the DICT is continuously implementing programs and initiatives as well as coordinating with relevant agencies and the ICT sectors in ensuring that the country is able to better utilize ICT for education and governance. In addition, we are reinforcing our cybersecurity efforts for the safety and resiliency of Filipinos during this crisis,” Honasan said.