At least four companies are interested in working with the Philippines government to establish tower sharing ventures to accelerate the roll out of base stations across the country.

In a statement, Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) acting secretary Eliseo Rio said ISOC Infrastructure signed an MoU and at least three others have expressed interest setting up a tower company.

DICT said it aims to facilitate the issuing of permits and right of way as well as provide additional government support should a tower company secure a contract with the country’s mobile operators.

The Philippines will have three major players after the regulator in November awarded consortium Mislatel a mobile licence. It will join incumbents Globe Telecom and PLDT’s Smart Communications, which have 99.8 per cent share of mobile connections.

Rio said tower providers that receive support from the government will need to establish tower sharing arrangements with the mobile players. In the end, he added companies that “get support will have to depend on market forces and not for the government to dictate on what the market should do for them to get support”.

In late September DICT outlined a new policy on infrastructure sharing and opened a public consultation on the draft rules.

In addition to naming a third operator, a common tower and pole sharing policy had been identified by government as another step to providing faster and more affordable telecoms services in the country.

Globe has long complained the country has one of the lowest tower densities in the world, with less than 20,000 towers serving a population of 101 million people, due mainly to government red tape.