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Third telco DITO to launch commercial services on March 8

By Bim Santos Published Feb 23, 2021 3:14 pm

Two years securing the much-coveted frequency assets, DITO Telecommunity is now set to launch commercially in Mindanao on March 8 its mobile services in an initial bid to challenge the deeply entrenched incumbent telcos through “affordable and better services.”

DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said they would first start offering their mobile services in 17 cities and municipalities in Mindanao, and then scale up to areas in Visayas and Luzon.

Tamano said that aside from Mindanao being the base of its franchise company Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. (Mislatel), they also see much potential in targeting the underserved areas that have lacking telecom infrastructure.

After their initial commercial roll-out, Tamano said they aim to cover the entire country before June en route to fulfilling their second-year commitments to the National Telecommunications Commission.

In 2018, the company won a valuable set of frequencies from the NTC in a highly touted selection process after promising to fulfill certain benchmarks under a five-year business plan. For its first year, they promised to cover 37% of the population at a minimum speed of 27 megabits per second, thresholds that have to increase to 80% and 55 mbps in their fifth year of commercial operations respectively.

“We are on track to meet our commitments,” Tamano told reporters today, Feb. 23, in an online press conference.

DITO’s announcement of an official commercial launch comes a day after the NTC announced that the company passed a technical performance audit where they logged average broadband speeds of 85.9 mbps for 4G and 507.5 mbps for 5G, covering 37.48 of the population.

DITO has also sealed interconnection deals with incumbents PLDT and Globe.

“We are really proud of this milestone and achievement,” Tamano said, in reference to their March 8 launch.

“Filipinos are excited for better service and we hope we can provide that, the expectations are really high,” added Tamano.

We envision ourselves as a much humbler player.

DITO Telecommunity chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said their Chinese partner, China Telecom, are also “very very enthusiastic.”

“This achievement is extraordinary even to them. That’s why yung na-achieve namin at this point in time is a testament to the strong partnership between the shareholders,” said Santiago.

DITO, with China Telecom as a strategic partner, is owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, a close friend of President Duterte. When asked if the president will attend the launching ceremony, Tamano said he isn’t sure.

“We envision ourselves as a much humbler player. Nothing grand for our initial commercial launch,” said Tamano.