Becoming a necessary company utility for the whole country is not a quick process that will happen overnight, but this week is yet another significant step by the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. (Mislatel) towards being elevated as the prospective third wheel in the years-spanning duopoly of PLDT-Smart Communications and Globe Telecom. While it will still take some time to get their infrastructure up and running, the fact that they now have a public convenience certificate means they can move ahead with their national organization. And to help with their promotional efforts, Mislatel has assumed a new name for branding purposes.
CNN Philippines reports that on Monday, July 8, Mislatel was given a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) by President Rodrigo Duterte at a simple ceremony in Malacañang. This document elevates the company, a consortium of two local businesses and a Chinese state-owned telecom, to a position equal to that of PLDT-Smart and Globe Telecom, easing its transition towards becoming an effective nationwide competitor against both. To that effect, the Department of Information, Communication and Technology (DICT) also awarded Mislatel with its operating frequency assigned for its telecom infrastructure. Mislatel also went and rebranded itself as DITO Telecommunity Corporation.
In specific details, the CPCN for now-DITO Telecommunity is an official grant for the company to operate as a telecom provider. With the addition of a legislative franchise from Congress DITO is now mandated to gear up for trying to acquire new consumers and draw away existing clients of two entrenched Philippine telecom giants. To ensure they do not slack off in meeting this objective, DITO had to post a performance bond worth P25.7 billion that could be forfeited to the government if they fall short of the starting goals that have been set down in the Terms of Reference.
According to DICT Undersecretary Eliseo Rio, DITO Telecommunity Corporation will begin by setting up shops in the major metropolitan centers of the Philippines – Manila, Cebu and Davao – where they will gain their first crop of service subscribers. “Of course they would start with pilot-pilot testing first,” elaborates Rio. “Then they readjust if there are still problems with the network. They will only go to a commercial operation if they don’t encounter problems any longer. In their timeline, that is 2020.”
Under the Terms of Reference in the Congressional legislation establishing the former Mislatel as the country’s “third telco,” the now-DITO Telecommunity has to provide internet speeds of minimum 27Mbps to 37% of the Philippine population within its first year of full operation to regain its performance bond. DITO, formed from Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics of Davao business magnate Dennis Uy plus state-owned China Telecom, is in the forefront of finally improving the Philippines’ abysmal internet speeds with its operation.
Image courtesy of Philippine Star