Globe, Smart barred from owning equity in common towers
Manuel Pangilinan’s Smart Communications and the Ayalas’ Globe Telecom will not be allowed to own or have a share in companies that will be setting up common towers for telcos.
Presidential Adviser for Economic Affairs and Information Technology Communications Ramon Jacinto said not allowing the dominant telco players to own or have equity in the common tower companies was among the provisions in the guidelines on common towers released by government recently.
Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. said “we are rushing this so that the third telco wouldn’t have to build its own tower.” He said this would also free up the capital and operating expenses of telcos because the towers require investments. The setting up of common towers provides economies of scale and barring a dominant player from controlling the common tower ensures a level playing field.
Jacinto said one of the concerns of the duopoly was the speed with which a common tower responds to a request from them. He said the common tower company will be given a specific time period to respond to the telcos’ request, after which the telco will be allowed to build its own.
Rio said the guidelines could speed up the construction of cell towers in the country. At present, there are only about 20,000 towers in the Philippines, a far cry from the 50,000 to 60,000 in Vietnam which has a far smaller population. (Eileen A. Mencias)