Philippines newcomer delays launch

Philippines newcomer delays launch

Only days after these news pages reported that the new Philippines mobile operator DITO Telecommunity had claimed adequate funding to enter the country’s mobile market, DITO has delayed a planned commercial launch in the Philippines until March 2021.

The operator, previously named Mislatel, said it would start a “technical” launch in July, and a pre-commercial trial in September. During this launch the company claimed, the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), will audit DITO's compliance with the government’s requirement to cover 37 percent of the population nationwide with 27 megabits per second (mbps).

However, the company claims it has already met its coverage target, with 600 base stations deployed out of 1,600 sites planned to be rolled out by the end of July. March 2021 is the deadline mandated in the company’s mobile licence by the NTC.

The company’s Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) would be withdrawn if it failed to meet its commitments, according to local press, which has also quoted CTO Rodolfo Santiago as saying that the company plans to invest some $2.9 billion this year.

In November 2018, the regulator announced that Mislatel, as DITO was then known, would be the country’s third major mobile operator. The company is a consortium made up of China Telecom, Chelsea Holdings and Udenna Corporation.

Udenna Corporation is a holdings company, with subsidiaries in multiple sectors including oil and gas, hospitality, logistics, real estate, retail and, through DITO, telecommunications. Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp is the biggest shipping and logistics company in the Philippines.

DITO, which has reportedly secured $500 million in loans from the Bank of China, has set itself the tough task of taking on the longstanding duopoly of PLDT and Globe Telecom. 

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