When telecom providers began opening cellular networks for mobile phones, one issue that came to the forefront was how the networks were mostly restricted to within itself. Mobile users within the same network provider could communicate, but not with others “outside.” This was solved when the government began calling for mobile network interconnectivity. Originally it seemed in the best interests of the networks to remain separate to make consumers choose, until DITO Telecommunity arose as the “third telco” alternative, making isolated networks impractical. First, DITO needs to interconnect with the existing telecom networks, and Globe Telecom was first to assent.

According to the Philippine Star, partial interconnectivity has just been achieved between Globe Telecom and DITO Telecommunity, the new telecom provider in the country that commenced commercial operations in March (for Vis-Min) and this past week (for Luzon). Now, both Globe and DITO customers can make mobile calls and send SMS to one another. As Globe general counsel Froilan Castelo puts it, “This effort is a reflection of Globe’s commitment to fair and healthy competition in the telco industry, as well as its adherence to the rules and regulations prevailing in competition and telecom laws.”

Full interconnection will be some time yet, as landline services between DITO and Globe are still to be linked. But these steps are in line with Republic Act 7925, which compels all authorized public telecom carriers to have interconnectivity, in order to have an integrated telecom network that is universally accessible anywhere in the country. Once realized, the national network should be able to entice the private sector to further invest in interconnecting infrastructure between the telcos, the better to benefit all of their respective consumers as an entire whole.

As for the other major telecom provider, PLDT-Smart Communications, they have entered into an agreement with DITO Telecommunity back in February for their side of interconnection. This will be done by the construction of a transmission facility that will handle communications traffic between their respective networks. No timeframe for when this facility will be built has been given, although it would probably be sometime soon.

Image courtesy of GMA News