The Philippines’ New Major Player (NMP) DITO Telecommunity says it has ‘enough’ resources to challenge the might of de facto duopoly PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, including recent additional funding from the Bank of China to help fund its first year of operations. The NMP, a joint venture of China Telecom Corp, Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp and Chelsea Logistics Holdings, has reportedly drawn down PHP25.3 billion (USD500 million) from its Chinese lender, with a view to building up to 1,600 cell towers and rooftop installations by July 2020, its chief admin officer Adel Tamano is cited as saying.
Tamano told journalists that DITO is ‘confident’ it can construct 5,000 cell sites, and has built 600 to date, and was keen to quash rumours that the newcomer lacks the financial resources to meet its rollout targets. ‘There are rumours that we don’t have resources for the rollout. We have drawn down [a] USD500 million facility from the Bank of China … This is enough for the first year requirement for the rollout,’ the official said, adding that the NMP could even ‘exceed’ its preliminary investment target of PHP303 billion for the deployment, while noting that on the technical front, DITO should have 37% coverage by July (with minimum 27Mbps speeds) – as per the T&Cs of its licence. A ‘stress test’ will be carried out in September, before the official launch of commercial operations in March 2021, Tamano said.