DICT mulls reallocation of frequencies

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    The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) plans to issue a policy that would mandate the recall of unused assigned frequencies for reallocation to potential fourth and fifth telecom players in the country.

    Gregorio Honasan III, DICT secretary, said the agency together with the National Telecommunications Commission will come up with the frequency management policy which ideally audits existing telcos to recall unused frequencies and assign these to other players.

    “We will rationalize that also (frequency). It will require getting back frequencies that are allocated. It requires a frequency management policy,” Honasan said when asked if there’s available frequency for use of other telecom players.

    Honasan is pushing to have more players in the country to benefit consumers through the cheapest and faster services.

    Honasan did not give a timetable for the issuance of the policy saying the DICT is currently focused on the rollout of the third telco, if it will achieve the objectives of lowering costs and improving services.

    DITO Telecommunity Inc., a consortium of China Telecom and Udenna Corp., is expected to start commercial operation in the second quarter of 2020. It should cover 37 percent of the country with of speeds of 27 megabits per second on its first year of operation.
    Honasan said consumers will feel the impact of having a third telco by next year or up to 2021.

    “We’ll find out what the performance of the third telco will be, if it achieves the objective of lowering costs and improving services. No timetable yet (for the fourth and fifth telcos), let see first the (performance of the) third telco,” he said.

    Honasan added a performance audit on the third telco will be done

    to ensure it delivers its commitment to the government.

    “What we want to do is conduct a performance audit on the process, and the performance of the third telco… but I cannot say when the fourth and fifth will happen,” he said.

    Meanwhile, the DICT is set to issue the draft rules on the common tower policy this month and put up the first common tower this year, as part of the strategy to help the new telecom player speed up rollout nationwide.

    “We are now crafting the common tower policy,” Honasan said.

    The first common tower will be built this year in the Congress compound to provide lawmakers improved mobile and internet services.

    The DICT targets to build 50,000 common towers nationwide in the next five to 10 years to augment the existing almost 18,000 cell sites in the country. Initially, it plans to fast track the construction of 2,500 common towers in government-owned properties across the country.