The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) signed on Thursday, February 7, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Aboitiz Infracapital to build common towers that may be leased to any telco firm that needs additional facilities.
DICT acting secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said the signing of the MOU is recognition of the capability of Aboitiz InfraCapital as a common tower provider.
“This MOU simply states DICT recognizes Aboitiz as capable, and that it has the financial capacity to invest in towers that it can lease to the telecommunication companies. We want to have better telecom services within our lifetime, and we are hoping to have 50,000 towers in seven to 10 years,” Rio said during its signing event held at the DICT office in Quezon City.
The MOU on common tower provider was signed by Rio on behalf of the DICT and Aboitiz InfraCapital chief operating officer Cosette V. Canilao.
The company has to secure a binding contract with telco operators in the country to be able to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the DICT.
Aboitiz InfraCapital, through its sister company AboitizPower, will provide its expertise and resources for power requirements of the cellular towers.
For its part, the DICT will provide assistance to the tower firms through facilitation of permits, right of way, and providing other government support for infrastructure.
Meanwhile, Casilao stressed the importance of a modern and efficient telecommunication infrastructure to the economic development of the country and the willingness of the company to provide its assistance for this need.
“The Aboitiz Group possesses extensive experience in building and operating utility networks, for example, through its distribution utilities Visayan Electric Co. Inc. (VECO) and Davao Light and Power Co. Inc. (DLPC). Moreover, the Aboitiz Group has established a strong track record on the management and execution of complex projects,” she said.
Aboitiz InfraCapital’s, the infrastructure business unit of Aboitiz Group, other projects include the rehabilitation and expansion of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and the operations and maintenance of the Bohol-Panglao International Airport. Both of these projects were granted original proponent status by the DICT.
To date, the DICT has signed common tower provider agreements with ISOC Infrastructures, Singapore’s ISON ECP Tower Pte; IHS Towers; Edotco Group; RT Telecom of Malaysia, China Energy Engineering Corp. and Aboitiz InfraCapital.
The agency estimates that the common tower initiative would generate about $4.4 billion in new investments, creating thousands of domestic jobs.
The DICT has said the Philippines needs additional 50,000 cell towers to be competitive with its neighboring countries in providing quality communication services to the public.
The lack of cell towers has been identified as one of the barriers to affordable and consistently reliable internet services in the country. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)