President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines has used the platform of his fourth State of the Nation address to challenge the new third telco, DITO Telecommunity (formerly Mislatel), to deliver on its promise to provide fast and reliable services – especially in underserved areas – in competition with de facto duopoly PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.
The Philippines’ New Major Player (NMP) was formally issued with its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) earlier this month, prompting Duterte to say: ‘Let me take this opportunity to pose this challenge to Mislatel: break the prevailing duopoly in the telecommunications industry and fulfil your commitment to provide better telco services to our people’.
The newcomer – a consortium of Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp, Chelsea Logistics & Infrastructure Holdings Corp and Chinese state-owned China Telecommunications Corp – subsequently renamed as DITO Telecommunity Corp and confirmed that its rollout plan will see it commence mobile network rollout immediately, with Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio suggesting that DITO is expected to get its first subscribers from populated areas like Metro Manila, Cebu, and Davao as early as November 2019; commercial launch is expected to follow in 2020 if they do not encounter problems.
However, Duterte also issued a statement claiming that there was ‘no corruption’ in the award of the concession to DITO – which is led by presidential friend and Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy. ‘Do not worry about this. There is no corruption at all. I guarantee you. Upon the grave of my father I do not allow [corruption], I do not talk to them,’ he claimed.