Dito’s telco launch moved to March 2021
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Consumers hoping for a “better” telecommunications service from new major player Dito Telecommunity will have to wait for another year.

In a briefing yesterday, Dito chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said the company is on track to launch commercial operations by March next year.

“This is part of the dates and milestones in the CPCN (certificate of public convenience and necessity) that we must achieve. If all the elements are there before March, then we would be very happy to launch before that. We have an option to launch earlier than that,” Tamano said.

“In a way, perhaps people will call this a delay or taking long, but at the end of the day the consumer will be happier when you have a very stable network. In other words, we want to do this well,” he said.

As mandated in its CPCN, Dito will have to make its first call by May this year. The first call is  proof that all components of the network are already in place.

By July, Dito will do a “technical launch,” wherein the government will check their capacity to deliver on its  first year commitments of covering 37 percent of the population and providing 27 mbps minimum average internet speed.

Dito said it would have 1,600 towers ready by July, enough to cover 37 percent of the country’s population.

 The company will begin by September pre-commerical trials which will test the stability of its network.

Tamano assured that Dito has enough resources to fund its telco venture.

“We have already drawn from the initial facility worth $500 million through the Bank of China. And this is enough for our first year requirements for our rollout,” Tamano said.

Tamano said other funding institutions would be revealed soon.

Dito chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago, for his part, said the company is tapping mostly international banks for funding as local banks could not handle the enormity of the investment required for its rollout.

“The commitment we received from financial bankers is already more than the P257 billion that we committed,” he said. 

“So when it comes to resources, we have and we are confident to say that in the next couple of years we have sufficient resources to roll out 5,000 towers for five years,” Tamano said.

Dito has committed to increase basic internet speed to 55 mbps and cover 84 percent of the country’s population over a five-year period through a total of P257 billion investment.

Tamano said through the technology expertise of state-owned China Telecom, he is confident Dito would be able to come up with a better offering than what the existing two telcos are providing.

 “Our goal is a very grand one. Our mission is to reinvent the Philippine telecommunications industry. We want to do essentially in five years what our competitors have been doing in more than 20 years,” he said.

“We’re not here to be number three. We’re not here to give the exact same service as the other telcos are doing. If we do that, it is a disservice to the consumers that are so excited to have us succeed,” he said.

Dito also again allayed security concerns over China’s involvement in the country’s telecommunications landscape through China Telecom.

“We have a commitment to the government that we are cybersecure, that our network will not be used against our national security. That is a very firm commitment,” Santiago said.

ADEL TAMANO CPCN
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