PCC, DICT bullish as Dito starts commercial operations

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The Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) have welcomed the commercial launch of Dito Telecommunity as the country’s third major telco.

The Dennis Uy-owned telco kicked off its services Monday, March 8, offering 4G and 5G SIM cards in selected areas in Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

In a statement, PCC chair Arsenio Balisacan said the launch of the Dito Telecommunity is a major development in the sector that has been ruled by only two companies for the past long years.

Balisacan said the anti-trust body is expecting that the new telecommunications player will spur competition in the local market that will benefit consumers in terms of better quality of services and prices.

“Let competition run its course to see how the telco race will result in competitive pricing and raise the level of overall connectivity, quality, and coverage in the country,” he said.

He added the PCC will monitor the market behavior of the telecommunications players to ensure they will compete fairly.

The commission said it will also continue promoting pro-competition measures in the telecommunications industry, Balisacan said.

“This development resonates with the aspirations of every connected Filipino, and opens the door for policymakers to consider other reforms such as the easing of foreign equity restrictions, push for open access and common towers, and prevention of exclusivity arrangements in last-mile internet service,” he said.

The DICT, meanwhile, said it is optimistic of an improved state of Internet connectivity in the coming months with the strengthened implementation of government connectivity programs and roll-out of telecommunications players.

“Digital infrastructure and connectivity are central to the ability of our country to move forward, address social changes, and meet the challenges of the future. With the private sector investing in digital infrastructure to upgrade the competitiveness of the Philippines, we hope to attract more opportunities, create more jobs, and generally improve the lives of our countrymen,” DICT secretary Gregorio B. Honasan II said during Dito’s commercial roll-out.

“The DICT is continuously coordinating with the NTC in monitoring the roll-out plans of all telco players following the directives for telcos to improve their services amid the new normal,” Honasan added.

On February 23, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) reported that Dito had submitted the technical audit conducted by the independent auditor R.G. Manabat & Co. in fulfillment of its commitments for its first year of roll-out.

Dito’s first year commitments, as indicated in its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) was to cover 37.03 percent of the national population with a minimum average broadband speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps).

According to the factual findings submitted to the NTC, Dito reached 37.48 percent or 37,845,315 of the national population and covered a total of 8,860 barangays, which is higher than the committed coverage.

The reported minimum average broadband speed of Dito were at 85.9 Mbps (4G) and 507.5 Mbps (5G). The following speed were also registered based on the distance to the base station:

  • Near the base station — 102.4 Mbps (4G) and 769.1 Mbps (5G)
  • Middle point — 91.2 Mbps (4G) and 437.1 Mbps (5G)
  • Far from the base station – 64.4 Mbps (4G) and 316.5 Mbps (5G)

Dito received its CPCN from NTC in July 2019 to operate as the third major telco. Its March 8 roll-out include areas in Metro Cebu (Carcar City, Cebu City, Consolacion, Danao City, Liloan, Mandaue City, Minglanilla, Naga City, San Fernando, Talisay City) and Metro Davao (Panabo City, Tagum City, Carmen, Davao City, Digos City).

Based on Dito’s commitment, their services as the new major player in the telco industry can be expected to be available nationwide by mid-2021.

“With Dito Telecommunity’s commercial rollout, we can expect another helpful pair of hands for nation-building. With the new player entering the field, we are determined to prove that we are leaders who deliver on their commitments, and we are confident that the Filipino people can sooner expect sustainable improvements in connectivity services moving forward,” Honasan stated.

According to Ookla’s January 2021 report, the Philippines moved up to the 86th spot in the global mobile Internet speed rankings, an improvement from its 111th rank in the same period last 2020.

Likewise, the Ookla January 2021 results showed a 4.10% increase in speed from 31.44 Mbps (fixed broadband), and 14.53% from 22.50 Mbps (mobile).

“While recent data shows that the nation continues to improve its Internet speeds, it is only one factor in the national ICT agenda. We want to also pose the challenge of improving coverage, especially in rural and remote areas. We want to make connectivity as inclusive and far-reaching as possible — to ensure that many reap the benefits of the digital economy, and not just the chosen few,” Honasan explained.

“To do this, we are also ramping up of national connectivity efforts, including the National Broadband Program, Free Wi-Fi for All Program and Common Tower Initiative,” he added. — with Kris Crismundo (PNA)

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