The Philippines’ Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has outlined a plan to deploy 50,000 telecom towers across the next seven years.
The plan will be carried out in cooperation with the National Telecommunications Commission, as well as the country’s incumbent mobile operators Globe Telecom and Smart Communications and newcomer Mislatel. Between them, Globe and Smart have around 16,000 towers in operation across the Philippines.
The parties have signed an MoU stating that they will pool their resources to identify the sites where towers can most effectively be deployed. For the first year of the plan, the goal is to deploy 3000 sites, with the aim of increasing this target year-on-year. By the fifth year, the parties aim to be rolling out 10,000 sites per year.
In a bid to avoid duplicating sites, in September 2018 the DICT recommended the creation of a common tower planning policy after operators revealed the sites that they considered to be the highest priority. Last month, the three operators all indicated that they would support the shared policy, and the DICT is now seeking to finalise it.
Building just one tower requires at least 25 permits, and procuring these can take upwards of six months, and the DICT is also looking to speed up this process by creating an inter-agency unit to help operators liaise with government agencies. This will expedite the processing of licences as well as the other administrative, legal and regulatory permits and certifications that are required for tower construction.