The Philippines’ new third telco DITO Telecommunity says it is on course to fulfil the requirements of the government’s technical audit in January 2021 and is ready to launch in March 2021 – or possibly ‘days earlier’. CNN Philippines cites DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago as saying the newcomer has built 1,532 cell towers nationwide, which he claims is more than enough to comply with CPCN [Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity] provisions to provide a speed of 27Mbps to cover 37% of the population at the time of the technical audit. In July this year DITO was given a six-month extension by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to complete its audit, due to rollout delays caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Yesterday (29 October) Santiago said that the company now hopes to have constructed 2,000 towers by the year end, which he claims would comfortably provide coverage of 47%-49% of the population. However, DITO is now looking to hit its targets for its next technical audit in mid-2021, with Santiago noting: ‘Safely, 2,200 towers will cover the minimum 51% coverage. But we’re not targeting just 51% – just like the 37%, we want the margin to be very, very safe so that our confidence of meeting our technical audit will not be challenging.’ Finally, the official confirmed that DITO is ready to launch in March 2021 and ‘is even seeking to join the market days earlier’, and is determined to carve out a niche for itself. ‘We don’t want to remain as the third telco – that’s why we said we’re the newest telco because we want to be number one. You can’t be number one with a 5% subscriber base,’ he added.