Government wants 50,000 cell sites in 5 years: DICT chief

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 27 2018 06:24 PM | Updated as of Nov 27 2018 06:39 PM

Workers are pictured on a newly constructed Globe Telecoms tower in Imus, Cavite, August 8, 2018. Erik De Castro, Reuters/File

MANILA - The government wants to put up 50,000 cell sites in the next 5 years to improve internet connectivity and speed in the country, Acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio said Tuesday.

The Philippines only has about 20,000 towers, "but we want to be at par with Vietnam" which has 70,000 cell sites, Rio told the Senate Committee on Public Services. 

He made the statement at a Senate hearing on the entry of a third player in the country's telecommunications space, which President Rodrigo Duterte had urgently called for citing poor service in the country. 

The government will "come up with a telco tower policy" that will encourage the private sector to build "common towers" as fast as possible, Rio said.

Private firms will be allowed to build these towers so that the project will "not need government funds," he added.

"They will put up their own funds to build it and lease it to Mislatel, Globe and Smart," he said. 

Mislatel is the consortium between China Telecom and Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy which the government recently confirmed as the third player. 

It promised to deliver an internet speed of 27 mbps in its first year. The current duopoly provides internet service at 10 mbps. 

The Philippines has the second to the slowest internet speed in the world, next only to war-torn Afghanistan, a study showed.