Saturday, February 24, 2024

Converge ICT, Dito sign ‘landmark’ pact to share facilities

Fiber broadband firm Converge ICT and wireless operator Dito Telecommunity pulled off a surprise on Thursday, Jan. 11, when they announced in a press event in Taguig City that they have signed a “landmark” agreement that will allow the two companies to share select terrestrial and submarine fiber-optic cable assets.

According to the two firms, the resource exchange arrangement will strengthen the network of both operators as it translates to expanded coverage and increased redundancy. At the same time, it will create savings from increased operational efficiencies and reduced capital expenditure requirements.

The pact, which is covered under a Master Facilities Provisioning Agreement (MFPA), did not contain any financial terms and appears to be a completely exchange deal between the companies.

On paper, the sharing setup is ideal and complementary for both sides with Converge being a pure broadband player while Dito is wireless-only operator.

Converge chief executive officer and co-founder Dennis Anthony H. Uy said it was only fitting for the two telecom newcomers to come together as they did not have the burden of having a legacy infrastructure unlike their older rivals PLDT and Globe Telecom.

“We want to leverage our respective existing facilities through this resource sharing agreement to bring us closer to our goal of empowering every Filipino home with quality broadband connectivity. Our collaboration will allow us to reach more customers and deliver a better service with increased resiliency,” said Uy.

The other Dennis Uy, the Davao-based tycoon and founder of Dito Telecommunity, was not present during the media event held at the Ascott Hotel in Bonifacio Global City.

During the briefing, Converge ICT’s Uy did not discount the possibility of eventually offering Dito services to its two million fiber subscribers, with Dito doing the same thing of packaging Converge solutions to its 9.5 million subscribers.

Dito Telecommunity chief executive officer Ernesto R. Alberto said, however, that their collaboration is still on its early stages. “Holding hands muna,” he quipped.

Converge chief operations officer Jesus Romero said the agreement will propel both networks as the fiber network of Converge matches the brand-new network of Dito Telecommunity.

As of November 2023, the total fiber assets of Converge span 682,000 fiber kilometers, with its household coverage now at 62.3% of the total households in the Philippines.

On the other hand, Dito Telecommunity has over 7,000 cell sites reaching over 80% of the population located in over 850 cities and municipalities in the country.

The executives said the partnership aims to achieve lower downtime, faster throughput, and more reliable connectivity leading to a further enhancement of the user experience of Converge and Dito Telecommunity customers.

For purposes of implementing the MFPA, separate agreements will have to be agreed by Converge and Dito Telecommunity, specifying, among others, the location (routes), service restorations and first line maintenance of the covered facilities for each other’s usage.

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