‘Unli’ tower builders to create 25M jobs ––Department of Information and Communications Technology

March 05, 2019
Rodrigo Duterte

Lawmakers urge Duterte advisers to abandon plan for towercos duopoly.

“ALLOWING a free market for telco tower builders will generate at least 10 million to 25 million new jobs for the Filipinos,” said the Department of Information and Communications Technology over the weekend.

“The rationalization of the telcos and the cellsite builders and operators will accrue to the benefits of millions of subscribers in particular, and the Filipinos in general,” said acting DICT Secretary Eliseo Rio, Jr.

Rio expressed such positive outlook as the DICT is about to conclude the final copy of the common tower policy which, he said, “will enable market-driven forces to improve telecommunication services and rationalize the telecom industry to the point of yielding sizeable economic benefits for the country.”

The DICT boss explained that the most essential benefit to the country’s economy from the common tower policy is the huge income that it will generate.

The DICT estimated at P200 billion the potential gross income from a number of interested cell site builders that will construct and operate the needed 50,000 towers for “shared use” of the telcos.

It said that these investments will create 25 million jobs at most based on 200 to 500 workers for every tower over the years for the estimated 50,000 towers needed in the entire archipelago.

The acting DICT boss also said the “tower sharing policy” is also expected to boost the financial capacity of the telcos in improving their services to subscribers.

He explained that the savings of the telcos from building and maintaining towers can be reallocated to capital expenses that will focus on levelling up their services to subscribers.

“Even the local government units that will host the towers are intended to benefit from the unrestricted number of towercos that will build and operate the shared cell sites,” said Rio, adding that the final plan has estimated a construction of 5,000 towers annually over the next seven years for the completion of 50,000 towers in ten years “which is expected, ultimately, to make the Philippines’ broadband service at par with those other countries.”

Meanwhile, two lawmakers chided Malacanang advisers who are supporting the proposal to limit  to just two the private companies that will construct and maintain 50,000 towers.

Both Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo and Abra Rep. Joseph Bernos said there’s a need to finally abandon, whoever yearns to enhance the telcos services, plans of a towerscos duopoly since this is counter productive to the promise of President Duterte to speed up the internet in the country.

“At lalo pang hahaba ang hihintaying panahon ng mga subscriber na gumanda ang  serbisyo ng telcos kung dalawang kompanya lang ang magtatayo ng inaasahan pang 35,000 cell towers... kumpara sa maraming kompanya na magtutulungan para mapabilis ang konstruksiyon ng nasabing mga pasilidad,” added the two congressmen.