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PCC seeks review of common tower policy

PCC seeks review of common tower policy

November 14, 2018
The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC), opposed to a plan  to limit the country’s tower companies to only two, urged agencies to reassess the proposal saying  limiting the number of players in the market would have adverse effects on market competition.

The PCC in a position paper  submitted to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), specifically wants agencies to review the  objective of  section 1.5 of a draft memorandum circular  where the intended purpose for the restriction is to supposedly ensure the financial viability of the common tower operators by granting them by granting them exclusive rights due to capital-intensive nature of the business.

The PCC also said it does believe  limiting the number of players in the market will address the issue by mobile network operators  concerning wasteful duplication of network resources and multiplicity of permits resulting in slow rollout of infrastructure and poor quality of services.

“Increasing the number of tower companies in the market could mean additional network infrastructure, resulting in less data traffic congestion,” PCC said.

It added the  issue on the multiplicity of permits would be better addressed not by capping the number of tower companies but by streamlining government processes in granting permits.

“Approving the draft common tower policy in its current form, with its limitation on the number of players that can participate, and the lack of a clear definition of a tower company, may raise competition concerns and be in direct contravention to the open access regime that the government is advocating for,” PCC said.

The country’s two telecom operator Globe Telecom Inc and Smart Communication Inc. have been opposing the proposals limiting the tower companies and prohibiting them from building towers as these are in violation of their  franchise as telco operator.

Tower companies are expected to build a total of 50,000 towers over a seven-year period with $2 billion investment requirements from each tower company.

Common towers are most prevalent in China, and other countries like Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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