Telecommunications duopoly challenger DITO Telecommunity Corp. is all set for its commercial launch next month after it passed its first technical audit that gauged if it is able to meet its commitments for its first year of operations.
“We want the public to know, on March 8 of this year, will be our commercial launch,” DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said in a virtual press conference on Tuesday.
The company made the announcement a day after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) reported that DITO was able to deliver on the commitments it made during the selection for the new major player in the telecommunications sector.
Based on the finding of the technical audit conducted by independent auditor R.G. Manabat and Co., DITO’s first-year national population coverage reached 37.48% or 37,845,315 based on the 2015 national census population of 100.983 million, reaching coverage of 8,8609 barangays.
The telco’s commitment was to deliver 37.03% national population coverage within a minimum average broadband speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps) in its first year of operations, else risk losing its P24-billion performance bond.
The audit report also indicated that the minimum average broadband speeds were recorded at 85.9 Mbps for 4G and 507.5 Mbps for 5G. This was faster near base stations at 102.4 Mbps for 4G and 769.1 Mbps for 5G, while those far from base stations experienced speeds of 64.4 Mbps for 4G and 316. Mbps for 5G.
Tamano said the commercial rollout will be in “waves.”
“It’s a phased launch. We are going to first start in Mindanao. There’s a sentimental reason for that, if you recall before DITO became DITO we were the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company. It was actually set up to serve the underserved areas in Mindanao. We thought it fitting to start there,” he said.
“Initial roll out will be in Mindanao and Visayas,” he added.
The DITO official said that 17 cities and municipalities in Mindanao and Visayas “are first areas where our services will be available.”
The telco’s services will be eventually available in the National Capital Region.
“By the middle of the year available throughout the country,” Tamano said, adding they are also currently constructing 20 physical retail stores.
“By March 8, around 10 to 20 stores should be ready in Mindanao and Visayas,” he said.
Asked about DITO’s product offerings, rates, and packages, Tamano declined to disclose details so as not to preempt the upcoming commercial launch.
Meanwhile, DITO has been assigned the following digits or prefixes for their subscribers: 0991, 0992, 0993, 0994; and 0898, 089, 0896, and 0895.
DITO, formerly Mislatel Consortium, was awarded a permit to operate as the third telecommunications player of the country in July 2019.
The consortium is made up of Davao businessman Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corporation, Udenna’s subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Inc., and Chinese state-owned China Telecommunications Corporation. —KBK, GMA News