The current debate on the new major player’s franchise validity would not hinder the government’s plan to accelerate the build-up of more telecommunications infrastructure, the Department of Information and Communications (DICT) said on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
“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,” DICT acting secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. said during the signing ceremony of Memorandum of Understanding between the DICT and RT Telecom.
Rio’s comment came at the heels of the pending Senate Committee on Public Service resolution that will determine if Mislatel, the franchise holder of the winning telco consortium, can get the 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.
Rio noted that the common tower project will approximately bring in $4.4 billion in investment and will create thousands of jobs, dubbing it as the biggest DICT’s “Build Build Build” project without using any public funds since it will be funded by the private sector.
RT Telecom is the second Malaysia-based company and the sixth tower provider to sign an MoU with the DICT, represented by Rio and assistant secretary for infostructure management and special concerns Alan Silor in the ceremony.
RT Telecom, a utility infrastructure investment holding company specializing on steel tower fabrication for transmission grids and telecommunications, was represented by Subhash Devan and country representative Ronaldo Talagtag.
The deal entered by RT was the same as the five previous firm including ISOC Infrastructures, ISON ECP Tower, IHS Towers, Edotco Group, and China Energy Engineering Corporation, where the government will support their companies in facilitating permits, right of way, and provide other government support 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.