Philippines, China-backed telcom will build towers on military bases

Uy, a close associate of President Rodrigo Duterte, was granted the country’s third telecommunications license last year, helped by last-minute withdrawals or disqualification of other bidders.

The military said in a statement that it had signed a preliminary agreement with Mislatel, a consortium controlled by Philippine tycoon Dennis Uy, to install facilities and communications towers at its camps and installations.

The Philippine military agreed on Wednesday to allow a new cellphone network powered by a Chinese state-owned telecommunications giant to install communications equipment at its military bases, despite concerns among lawmakers about possible espionage.

The deal comes despite calls for deeper control by some Philippine lawmakers worried that state-controlled China Telecom could be a “Trojan horse” with the ability to access state secrets.

His two holding companies, which have no previous telecommunications experience, have partnered with China Telecom, which currently owns a 40% stake, the maximum allowed under an archaic Philippine law that the government has promised to change to support foreign investment.

It comes at a time of cyber-security sadness surrounding Chinese national icon Huawei Technologies, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, which has been blacklisted in the US since May.

Washington is urging its allies, including Manila, not to use Huawei clothing, which the Beijing government could use for espionage, a claim Huawei has denied.

In a statement, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said that Mislatel “guarantees that equipment, equipment, or structures installed at the site provided by the AFP will not be used to obtain classified information” as a measure to prevent electronic espionage.

He noted that AFP had a similar arrangement with the other two mobile home firms, Globe Telecom and rival PLDT.

The move is aimed at freeing state-owned land for tower construction, in an effort to address a shortage that has for years resulted in disrupted signals, patchy coverage and dropped calls, with the country’s two networks flooded with traffic between 107 million population of the country. Globe and PLDT blame excessive permit requirements for slowing down their network expansion.

Once operational, the new player’s network will be called Dito, or “here” in the Philippines.

“Rotating Dito’s towers is really a Herculean feat,” Uy said in a statement. “We are closer to our goal of building a broad, strong network.”/

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