For a good long while now, the country in terms of telecommunications services was almost neatly split between two giants, pioneering PLDT and mobile giant Globe Telecom. The government thought that was unsporting, so they encouraged businesses in 2018 to bid for opening a “third telco” to challenge the dual hegemony. Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, founded in 1998, was turned into a joint-consortium with backing from China Telecom, being rebranded into Dito Telecommunity in 2019. It was thus given two years to build its infrastructure to prepare for a commercial launch. The deadline date is next month, and investors are expressing increased interest with them.
CNN Philippines reports that investor optimism has led to rising performance for Dito Telecommunity’s parent company, DITO CME Holdings, at the stock market as of Thursday, February 18. This indicates plenty of confidence from investors that the government-encouraged third telecom provider will be able to establish itself as serious competition for Globe and PLDT. When the year 2021 started the share price for DITO CME has gone up by 36%, and for this month alone that has improved further by 42% according to stock analysts.
“Investors have been buying up DITO since the start of February in speculation of the firm being able to successfully roll out its services without any delays this March,” notes equity analyst Anna Corenne Agravio of Regina Capital Development Corp. whose sentiment is echoed by senior research analyst Japhet Tantiangco of Philstocks Financial Inc. All eyes are looking at March 8, 2021 when Dito Telecommunity will officially launch its services, with investors buying into the stock in hope that it will contribute to assuring success. A technical audit of DITO CME started back in January, to ensure that it is on track for delivering the quality service that the national government is expecting of it.
To wit, Dito is promising internet speeds no lower than 27 Mbps, and that for its first year of commercial operation that service will cover 37% of the population in the Philippines. This is a challenge to the reported slower actual speeds offered by the two existing telecom giants, of which consumer complaints have found a voice in President Rodrigo Duterte. Dito itself has a major stake in order to deliver that promise, with P25.7 million performance bond that could be forfeited if the launch is less than stellar. While the service launch is in March, the first commercial calls via Dito are slated to be later on in May.
Image courtesy of Rappler