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3 more firms to build cell sites to support Mislatel

Updated: Feb 1, 2019

Photo by Ventures Cebu

Common tower providers from Nigeria, Malaysia and China are also set to build cell sites in the Philippines under the government’s common tower policy, which is seen to help new telecommunications player Mislatel Consortium accelerate its rollout plan and readily compete with existing telecommunications companies.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), in a statement, said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Nigeria’s IHS Towers and Malaysia’s Edotco Group on Thursday, January 17. Another MOU will be signed with China Energy Engineering Group today, January 18.

The three companies will join Filipino-owned ISOC Infrastructures Inc. and Singapore’s ISON ECP Tower Pte. Ltd., which signed similar agreements with the DICT in December 2018.

Under the agreement, the DICT will support these companies in facilitating permits and right of way, as well as provide other government support for infrastructure should they secure a contract with any of the telco operators.

The government is opting for a market-driven approach in accelerating the build-up of more cell sites through the common tower policy.

“This goes to show the confidence of the (tower provider) industry in the direction we are heading right now, which is to introduce more competition in the market,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio, Jr. said.

“We will welcome more parties in this venture as it will address the country’s backlog on telecommunication towers,” Rio added.

He pointed out that the Philippines has less than 20,000 towers compared to Vietnam’s around 70,000 cell sites and Indonesia’s more than 93,000 towers.

The DICT statement said the “common tower policy is also seen to aid the new major player –Mislatel consortium—in its rollout plan to quickly compete with the incumbent telcos once it starts operating.”

Mislatel is complying with post-qualification requirements. Rio earlier assured President Rodrigo Duterte that Mislatel should be able to start operations by the middle of 2019.

The consortium is composed of China Telecommunications Corp., Udenna Corp. and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp. (both owned by Davao businessman Dennis Uy), and franchise holder Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Incorporated (Mislatel).

It has committed to increase basic internet speed in the Philippines to 55 Megabits per second (Mbps) and serve at least 84 percent of the population on its fifth year of operation.

As of November 2018, download speed in the Philippines was only 14.69 Mbps for mobile and 18.47 Mbps for fixed broadband, according to the Speedtest Global Index. (Ventures Cebu)

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