After Pres. Rodrigo Duterte complained about the “lousy” service of local telcos during his State of the Nation Address on Monday, July 27, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has called on telecommunications companies to accelerate the improvement of their services throughout the country.
DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II specifically asked telcos to avail of the benefits of the agency’s common tower initiative, saying that the telcos’ collocation in the common towers will enable them to service the wider population, as well as deepen and enhance wireless network coverage and quality of ICT services.
Honasan said collocating with common towers will also help telcos cut back on their expenses allocated in building up and maintaining their own towers. The savings can be spent instead to further upgrade their services, he added.
The government’s common tower initiative got a boost recently with the issuance of the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) between DICT, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development (DHSUD), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Department of Health (DOH), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The JMC removes red tape by streamlining the procedures and requirements for permits, licenses, clearances, certificates, and other requirements in the construction of 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. 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,” Honasan said.