Local firm ISOC Infrastructures Inc. (ISOC Infra) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to become the first common tower provider in the country.
ISOC Infra will establish cell towers and other facilities that may be leased by all telecommunication firms to expand their facilities and enhance the quality of service.
The sharing of common towers will help ensure fast and affordable Internet services to the public, according to DICT acting secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr.
“ISOC is the first to submit a proposal on common telco towers, and we recognize their determination and commitment to pursue this to help push the objective of providing faster, more reliable, and affordable Internet and telco services to the Filipino people,” Rio said in a statement on Thursday, Dec. 20.
The MOU will mandate ISOC to work with telco companies for the rollout of the cell sites, especially in areas across the country that need access and connectivity.
The DICT will facilitate the permitting and regulatory process, help identify and provide sites for the towers such as public buildings, government lots, among others.
ISOC Infra chair Michael Cosiquien is optimistic that the tower-sharing initiative will not only benefit the telcos but the government as well.
“The MOU with the DICT is proof of our strong desire to invest in improving the telco infrastructure in the country and to help contribute to the development of this industry with the telco providers as our partners,” Cosiquien said.
Last July, ISOC Infra submitted to the DICT its proposal to build 25,000 towers within seven years, with a budget of P100 billion, of which P20 billion will be invested in the first three years.
The company tapped OCK Vietnam Pte Ltd. as technical partner for the common tower project.
The DICT is eyeing to craft a policy that will allow the establishment of more common cell tower providers in the country.
Stakeholders in the industry have said allowing the entry of more tower providers will promote competition and benefit consumers through improved communication services.
The Philippines has the lowest cell density in Asia, compared with neighboring countries like India, Indonesia, China, and Vietnam for the first half of this year, based on a recent report of TowerXChange and We Are Social.
Data showed that the user-per-cell site density in the Philippines is about 4,036, based on estimates of 16,600 total cell sites against 67 million Internet users. — Aerol John Patena (PNA)