The Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) plans to trim down to four to seven the number of common tower companies that will be operating in the country under a comprehensive policy to be released this month.
Last year, DICT signed up 24 companies for the construction of shared towers, of which four have secured deals with local telecommunication companies.
These include ISOC Infrastructure in partnership with edotco Ltd., Aboitiz InfraCapital Inc. in partnership with Frontier Tower Associates Management, American Tower and LCS Holding Inc.
Eliseo Rio, DICT undersecretary, said up to seven firms could operate in common tower business, depending on market demand.
For this year, the DICT targets to put up 3,000 shared towers across the country, mostly in unserved and underserved areas.
The agency is finalizing the common tower policy with the inputs from different stakeholders on the number of tower companies, financial and technical qualifications.
In a 15-page notice of consultation and submission on DICT’s rulemaking on the policy on shared passive ICT infrastructure common towers, the department initially proposed to limit the number of independent tower companies (ITCs) to not more than five in the first four years of the policy implementation, with the proposed number later on to be increased to at least seven ITCs.
This is to ensure the viability of the policy and the high quality of rollout consistent with protection of national security.
The Rules on the Accelerate Roll-Out Common Towers in the Philippines as point of concept meanwhile suggested to allow market forces to determine the number of ITCs, especially with more than 24 companies interested in participating in the common tower initiatives.
One of the financial requirements is for ITCs to have a net worth of least P3 billion and/of P10 billion and have evidence it has the ability to raise additional capital from consortium members.
On the technical qualification, DICT proposes that the consortium partners which hold at least 20 percent equity in the company or consortium should have at least five years of experience in constructing and/or owning and/or operating maintain a minimum of 1,000 towers or 5,000 towers.