The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) will officially expand its common tower provider partners to five as it is set to sign with three foreign companies this week. 

IHS Towers and Malaysia’s Edotco Group are scheduled to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with DICT on Thursday (January 17), while China Energy Equipment Corporation is set to ink the same deal on Friday (January 18).

The three will enter the same scenario that ISOC Infrastructures Inc. and Singapore’s ISON ECP Tower Pte. Ltd. agreed last December, where the DICT will support their company in facilitating permits, right of way, and provide other government support for infrastructure should they secure a contract with any of the telco operators.

The development came at the heels of the DICT opting for a market-driven approach in accelerating the build-up of more cell sites.

“This goes to show the confidence of the (tower provider) industry in the direction we are heading right now, which is to introduce more competition in the market,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio said.     

“We will welcome more parties in this venture as it will address the country’s backlog on telecommunication towers,” Rio added.

Rio noted that the Philippines, with its less than 20,000 towers, has the smallest number of towers considering its land area and population compared to other countries in the neighboring region.   

The common tower policy is also seen to aid the new major player –Mislatel consortium—in its roll-out plan to quickly compete with the incumbent telcos once it starts operating.