Philippines publishes common tower rules

The Philippines' Department of ICT has published the rules and regulations for the new common tower provider regime with the goal of building or converting at least 2,500 common towers across the nation.

The rules will pave the way for deployments in properties owned by the departments, other government agencies, and hard-to-access areas identified by the market's mobile operators.

With the rules, the DICT has committed to streamline the issue of licenses for the deployment of telecommunications equipment in towers not built by the independent tower companies participating in the scheme.

They also seek to encourage voluntary sharing of towers by incumbent mobile operators by offering incentives in the form of allowing companies to build passive infrastructure in government properties, and to enable operators to offer, transfer and convey existing tower resources to tower sharing entities.

Independent tower companies participating in the scheme will need to be at least 20% owned or in a consortium with companies with at least five years of experience constructing, owning, operating and/or maintaining towers.

They must also be wholly independent of mobile operators to ensure they offer non-discriminatory access, and have reached agreements with the DICT and secured the required permits.

The DICT said that to date 22 tower companies have signed memoranda of understanding with the department over the common tower initiative.

“This is the starting point of more comprehensive policy for our initiative on passive infrastructure sharing. This will help tower firms to acquaint themselves in our telco industry,” DICT acting secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. said.

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