Mislatel now targets commercial network launch in late 2020

28 Jan 2019

The Philippines’ would-be third telco, Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (Mislatel), has revealed that customers could start using its network on a commercial basis from late 2020, on the proviso it overcomes questions concerning the validity of its franchise award. The newcomer, a joint venture of China Telecom, Davao tycoon Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp, submitted its rollout plan to the Senate last week, in which it laid out its stall to commence its rollout upon receiving the necessary Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) from the government.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, earlier this month Eliseo Rio Jr., the acting secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), claimed that the country’s New Major Player (NMP) would be operational by the middle of this year, despite ‘concerns’ raised in a legal case over its selection. The DICT official has recently moved to reassure the country’s president Rodrigo Duterte that Mislatel is expected to emerge from the 90-day post-qualification phase in good shape and fulfil Duterte’s stated aim to break the de facto duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.

According to the rollout plan handed to the Senate, however, Mislatel’s plans include proposals to commence network engineering one month after obtaining the CPCN with the stated aim to begin network testing twelve months after getting the certificate, and kicking off a pre-commercial trial two months after that. ‘Six months from the commencement of the pre-commercial trial, we will officially launch the commercial use of the new major player’s network,’ Mislatel said – putting the commercial launch phase toward the latter end of 2020. ‘To fulfil our commitment to the government, we will devote sufficient resources to build our network as quickly as possible. Based upon the readiness of the network, and evolving variety of services will be offered to our Philippine customers,’ it confirmed.

Mislatel has reportedly committed to increase basic internet speed to 55Mbps and cover 84% of the country’s population over an initial five-year period, through total investment of PHP257 billion (USD4.89 billion). The designated NMP now has until 17 February to submit the necessary post-qualification documents and required performance security for the issuance of its CPCN to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), which should then give it the authority to operate as a telco.