MANILA -- The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is eyeing to partner with local telcos in order to expedite the rollout of common towers which are vital to improve communication services in the country.

In a statement on Monday, the DICT said it aims to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and telcos to build 50,000 towers within seven years.

“Telcos will be the end-user of these common towers so we fully need their cooperation to improve our overall telecommunication landscape,” DICT Acting Secretary Eliseo M. Rio Jr. said.

The DICT and NTC, in coordination with the telcos, will identify sites where the common towers will be built. A target of 3,000 sites for the installation of the towers are set for the first year which will gradually increase to 10,000 sites from the fifth to seventh year.

The DICT hopes to finalize the implementation of the common tower policy within a month after the telcos released the list of sites earmarked for tower roll-out.

The department has signed agreements with 15 tower firms for the deployment of common towers in the country. The tower providers need to partner with the telcos for them to build on their infrastructures.

The DICT will then sign a memorandum of agreement with them wherein the department will provide assistance through facilitation of permits, right of way, and providing other government support for infrastructure.

The Philippines needs an additional 50,000 cell towers to be competitive with its neighboring countries in providing quality communication services to the public according to the department. (PNA)