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Common tower policy seen as a win-win solution.

MANILA, Philippines Amid concerns raised on the common tower policy, presidential adviser on economic affairs and information technology communications Ramon Jacinto has called on telcos to support the proposal, saying it was a win-win solution in improving services to customers.He also said consultations would be conducted with telcos to address their concerns before guidelines for the policy are finalized next month.

"Common towers is a proven concept in other countries and if we allow Globe and Smart to continue to build their own towers, it would effectively kill the common tower policy as we have a duopoly. We would be back where we started," he said.

Jacinto said consumers are unhappy as both telcos are unable to deliver the service they demand.Jacinto said the policy would allow telcos to save on funds spent on construction of towers and channel the resources instead to upgrading their radios to improve services.

"It is a win-win situation, we get rid of their headache of building towers, and we save them money," he said.element-invisibleBusiness ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1Jacinto's statement comes on the heels of Globe president and chief executive officer Ernest Cu's statement expressing concern on the government plan to disallow telcos from building their own cell towers.

"What is difficult to implement is telcos cannot build their own towers. I don't see how that actually hastens the progress of building connectivity and improving connectivity in this country," Cu said.

He said Globe, however, is open to sharing towers with other telco providers.Under the planned common tower policy, the building of cell sites would be undertaken by tower companies to be selected by government.

The towers, which would be leased to telcos, would be able to accommodate three to four players.Telcos would be consulted on the location of the cell towers to be built by the tower companies.

"I cannot fault Ernest Cu for his reaction because he is trying to protect Globe's position in the market. But to allow them to continue in the mode that they have done for more than a decade has proven beyond doubt that they simply cannot provide the service required by the people.

Globe and Smart themselves are the first ones to say that the reason they cannot provide enough service is because they cannot build enough towers. We are solving this problem for them by implementing the common tower policy," Jacinto said.

Telcos have said they are unable to quickly build cell sites due to bureaucratic red tape which causes delay in securing permits.The country, which has 16,000 cell sites, needs an additional 50,000, requiring a total investment of $5 billion.

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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:Jan 23, 2018
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