Another telco tower builder approved by DICT

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 11 2019 09:25 PM

MANILA - Another telco tower company inked an agreement with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) as part of the agency’s roll-out of common telecommunications towers nationwide.

Filipino-owned MGS Construction Inc. is the 8th company to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the DICT, which formally recognizes the company's technical and financial capacity to construct and operate towers.

MGS said it is “primarily engaged in trucking, construction and building materials." It said it constructs buildings, malls, and other infrastructure.

DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio said that with the common towers put up by third parties, the high cost of building and operating towers will no longer be passed by telcos to consumers.

Sharing common towers will also cut operating costs. 

“The costs will be divided by two or three (number of telcos, adding the 3rd new player). They can bring down their operational cost and of course this will now translate to lowering the cost for their subscribers," Rio said.

The DICT aims to have 50,000 common towers to be constructed by independent firms.

The combined towers of Globe and Smart total around 19,200, which is a far cry compared to South East Asian neighbor Vietnam with its 70,000 towers, Rio said. 

“Sa ngayon, sa isang area mahina ang Globe. Sa Isang area mahina ang Smart. [That’s because] hindi sila nagsi-share ng tower,” Rio said.

The DICT wants the common towers operational in 7-10 years. 

The seven companies that had earlier inked similar MOUs with DICT are Aboitiz Infrastructure, ISOC Infrastructures, Inc., ISON ECP Tower Pte. Ltd, IHS Towers, Edotco Group, China Energy Engineering Corporation, and RT Telecom SDN BHD.

Another firm, American Towers, described by DICT as the second largest tower operator worldwide, will ink an MOU with the agency next week. 

An economic adviser to President Rodrigo Duterte however is insisting that only 2 telco tower operators should be allowed to make the business more viable. 

Presidential Adviser on Economic Affairs Ramon Jacinto has publicly disagreed with Rio on how to implement the government's planned Common Tower Policy.