The Philippines’ New Major Player (NMP) DITO Telecommunity (formerly Mislatel) is aiming to begin distributing SIM cards by the fourth quarter of this year, CNN Philippines reports the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) as saying. With the NMP targeting an operational launch in early 2020, NTC commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba told a House panel hearing that DITO Telecommunity – which is backed by Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp, Chelsea Logistics & Infrastructure Holdings Corp and Chinese state-owned China Telecommunications Corp – wanted ‘to be commercially operational by the end of the year or the first quarter of next year’, adding that its rollout is ‘already backed up by a performance bond’. As such, the NMP has posted a PHP25.7 billion (USD492 million) performance bond which will be forfeited if it fails to meet licensing expectations by 8 July 2020, and should be able to cover 37% of the population and provide internet speeds of up to 27Mbps in its first year.
In March this year, the newly anointed NMP initially pushed back the start date for its commercial operations in the country from late 2020 to early 2021, citing issues concerning the timely award of its operating certificate by the government. However, having finally being awarded its licence in July when the NTC issued it with a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN), DITO spokesperson Adel Tamano said a launch could now take place by the second quarter of 2020.