One generalization of the policies being pushed and supported by President Rodrigo Duterte is that he wants certain status quos to be upended. One such case is the established duopoly in the Philippines in terms of telecommunication services. That means the only companies getting real business are PLDT/Smart and Globe Telecom, with their clients infamously tending to just bounce between them as desired. To break that, a move was made for the government to aid the rise of a third major telecom firm, which was achieved with the formation of DITO Telecommunity, formerly Mislatel. The third telco was supposed to begin offering business this year, but they have surprising news.
According to CNN Philippines, DITO Telecommunity has clarified that the July scheduled rollout of their services as the third primary telecom company in the country turns out to be anything but a product launch. In a disclosure provided by DITO through its sister firm Chelsea Logistics last week, while their telecom infrastructure goes online this coming July, it will only serve the purpose of being subjected to a technical audit by the National Telecommunications Corporation (NTC) to check their compliance to the launch condition that they could cover at least 37% of the Philippines’ population.
DITO further explained that following the technical launch of their operations in the middle of this year, the actual launch for their services will not be until March of 2021. Most of the technical launch phase will have the NTC testing the cell towers that would have been put up by DITO, supposedly no less than 1,600 to cover its projected 30% mobile subscriptions in the Philippines. Business magnate Dennis Uy, who stands as chairman of DITO Telecommunity, met with Secretary Gregorio Honasan of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) last January to bring the latest status of the third telco towards operability.
With a country that has mobile internet speeds of 7 Mbps (DL) and 2.2 Mbps (UL), the promises given by DITO Telecommunity for its services are very tempting. They mean to start with 4G LTE upon launch, then quickly upgrade to 5G before the year 2021 is out. That does leave a small window for the change if the March 2021 service launch holds true and the July launch remains purely technical. DITO did pay P25.7 billion worth in performance bond to deliver is better internet speed upon launch, so they cannot afford to delay.
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