Dito needs 3,000 towers to reach commitment
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Third telco player Dito Telecommunity Corp. will rely heavily on its chosen common tower providers in the coming months to achieve its commitment of covering 37 percent of the population in its first year.

Dito has a lot of catching up to do to be at par with the network reach of giants Globe and Smart. It intends to somehow narrow the gap by its first year through the help of various local and international common tower companies.

Rodolfo Santiago, Dito interim chief technology officer, said the country’s new major telecommunications player would need about 3,000 towers built to attain its first year commitment in terms of network coverage.

“The 37 percent, if you’re using the experience of Globe and Smart of having 85 to 90 percent coverage right now, having 9,000 towers for that coverage each, then one third will be 3,000. We’re confident that if we build about 3,000 towers, we can achieve the 37 percent,” he said.

Santiago said Dito intends to maximize the use of the tower companies to hit the targets under its five-year commitment to the government.

However, he said there may also be a need for the company to build its own towers in certain areas.

“We want to maximize and we want 100 percent towers built by common tower providers. As much as possible, we don’t want to build our own but there will be situations that we need to do it. There are situations or even specific locations that they may not want to go to and we need to build our own,” he said.

Unlike Globe and Smart, Dito has yet to sign deals with any of the pool of 24 common tower providers that has been accredited by the Department of Information and Communications Technology.

But Santiago said the company is now close to finalizing agreements with common tower providers which have resources that it could utilize.

“We are in the final stages in finalizing our commercial and legal terms, but the preparation we’ve done very early on. We already have shared with them some of our sites and I think most of those we are talking to already have started their site acquisition and permitting,” he said.

Dito has already shortlisted its potential common tower partners to about seven or eight, all of which have passed the company’s internal evaluation.

Aside from covering 37 percent of the population, Dito has committed to provide 27 Mbps minimum average internet speed in year one of its five-year commitment period.

Dito’s compliance with its commitments will be measured by the National Telecommunications Commission on July 9, 2020, one year from the award of its certificate of public convenience and necessity or permit to operate.

Dito, a consortium composed of state-owned China Telecom and Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy’s  Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., intends to be the best telco player in the country as it vowed to cover 84 percent of the population and bring a minimum average internet speed of 55 Mbps from years two to five of its commitment period.

“We intend to build the best network that will provide a better service at a cheaper cost to the Filipino public. And we intend to do that based on the commitments that we’ve given the government,” Santiago said.

DITO TELECOMMUNITY CORP. RODOLFO SANTIAGO
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