Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay
Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay
Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay.

(In the article written in Philstar news webpage)

With the 3rd telco expected to be “operational” in about six months, it was quite a surprise that Dito Telecommunity announced a delay in its actual commercial operations.

Dito says this due to the complex cell tower permitting process.

Such an issue of the complex permitting process may have been nearly excusable if it came from the mouths of startups or fresh business owners.

But this excuse wouldn’t hold water when given to experts on public-private sectors who are all too familiar with putting up infrastructures.

Such delays should have already been pointed way before during its scheming phase, not on due implementation.

For President Duterte, whose term will be over soon, this would be a big disappointment from those he promised a much hyped better quality of internet service, of providing checks and balances, and giving competition for the duopoly of Globe and Smart among other things.

Dito’s concerns have been known and explained by industry providers on the challenges of building telco towers. LGU permits take eight months long for one cell site, the easier-said-than-done meeting of requirements of negotiations, documentation, permits, and approval processes. These requirements are not secrets or unseen necessities but rather predicted and anticipated in hindsight.

These are actually legal and inevitable but can be dealt with processes in advance.

“I wouldn’t agree 100% that permits for towers is the main issue. That’s been the script/excuse of SMART and Globe for poor service. Considering they’ve been at it for decades, their project management should have already handled and taken into consideration the delays from permits,” an industry analyst said at length.

Having to deal with foreseeable obstacles but lacking the foresight to come up with solutions can’t be an excuse for lack of communications. It can also be a simple case of incompetence. Of not having the bite to back up a loud bark.

With the setting up of more cell towers being delayed further, thanks to Dito’s impending failure to deliver its promises, the Philippines will continue to lag behind its ASEAN neighbors when it comes to tower density in the region.