Unhappy President Duterte Gives Carriers December Deadline

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Yesterday Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte warned he might seize top wireless providers Smart and Globe if they do not improve their services by December. “I might just as well close all of you and we revert back to the line telephone,” Duterte said in his fifth State of the Nation Address. “Kindly improve the services before December. I want to call Jesus Christ to Bethlehem, better have that line cleared,” the President said according to the Inquirer.

The target goal for tower buildout, according to the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), is 50,000 new towers in the next decade. Globe had budgeted $1.2 billion to be spent this year for network and capacity builds.

American Tower’s subsidiary in the Philippines, Transcend Towers Infrastructures, has an agreement with Globe Telecom to build out several hundred sites in North Luzon. A failed tower policy in 2018, later deemed illegal, proposed only two tower providers would be allowed to build out the Philippines. Dito Telecommunity, designated as a third national service provider, was planning a limited trial rollout this summer. The government recently extended Dito’s intended launch date from July 3 to January 7 due to delays caused by the COVID-19 lockdown.

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