The Philippines’ new third player DITO Telecommunity is upping its population coverage target to over 90% by the end of its five-year network rollout programme and aiming to serve more areas than it originally committed to in order to secure its telecoms operating licence. As the start-up waits to secure another 25-year franchise renewal (its current one is set to expire in 2023), DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano is cited by The Philippine Star as saying: ‘Our government commitments in terms of coverage for the first year it’s 37%, second year it’s around 50%, third year around 70%, and the last year is 84% … But to be very honest, we actually aim to hit those milestones in advance and we’re hoping that for our final year, we are only hoping to hit 84%, 85% coverage, but we are actually aiming for more than 90% coverage for our final year.’
Meanwhile, CTO Rodolfo Santiago pointed out that the newcomer’s network has already been deployed in some 8,800 barangays (the smallest administrative division in the Philippines) to date, eclipsing its first year target of 7,425, adding: ‘We’re confident that by the end of the year, we will be close to 10,000 barangays covered by our network’. Further, with DITO reaffirming its targeted March 2021 deadline for commercial launch, Tamano promised potential new customers: ‘Our commitment from the onset was really to bring competition to the market and we will be offering our services at a reasonable rate. We will really come to the market with an attempt to get that market share’. The official also said that DITO intends to launch a 5G standalone (SA) network ‘sometime next year or 2022’. By 7 January 2021 the third telco is set to undergo a technical audit, wherein the government will check its ability to deliver on its first year commitments of covering 37% of the population and provide a minimum 27Mbps average mobile internet speed.