In a press briefing, DITO Telecommunity, granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity in July of 2019 to operate as the third major telco player in the Philippines, identified milestones achieved in the past four months that have bolstered confidence in its ability to meet the March 2021 commercial launch target.
One of the major highlights the past four months was the series of phone calls made using the core network to five (5) regional subdivisions representing the five DITO vendors in the country, namely Huawei for North Luzon, Northern NCR and Southern NCR; ZTE for South Luzon and the Visayas; and Huaxin for Mindanao. Furthermore, two (2) successful international phone calls were made, one (1) to Hong Kong and another to Beijing China with China Telecom in spite of the Luzon-wide lockdown.
Atty. Adel Tamano, DITO Chief Administrative Officer said, “What makes these phone calls significant are two key facts, first the core network of DITO is already operational, and second, we have complied with our mandate of conducting a phone call on or before May of this year, two months ahead of schedule and have continued to test the system since.”
He further said, “We wanted very much to make these calls public and were busy preparing to showcase these milestones to the Filipino people March of this year but sadly the enhanced community quarantine and the global pandemic got in the way.”
“The pandemic did cause a number of key infrastructure delays as we were approaching peak potential on the roll-out of DITO,” added Atty. Tamano.
DITO Telecommunity Chief Technology Officer, Retired Major General Rodolfo Santiago said that most of the scheduled material supplies from China such as fiber cables, DC containers, base stations, towers, and telecom ancillaries failed to arrive as scheduled causing delays in the roll-out with work focused on what can be done safely and remotely within the parameters set by the IATF.
“In spite of these delays, 1,300 towers in various stages of construction are being built with 300 towers now operational, integrated and on air, with interim network operation centers are in place to allow limited internet connection and phone calls,” said General Santiago.
The National Telecommunications Commission has issued a resolution granting an extension period of six (6) months from 08 July 2020, the original schedule as stated in the CPCN for the technical audit; until 08 January 2021 for DITO to comply with its first-year commitments of 27 Mbps internet speed and coverage of 37% of the population of the Philippines, among others, while remaining committed to its commercial launch mandated in its CPCN.
Atty. Tamano stressed on his message that DITO is still on track for the March 2021 scheduled commercial launch under the certificate of public convenience and necessity. What will be pushed back is only the technical audit per the NTC resolution.
“All other milestones that must be met as stipulated in the CPCN has not moved. Rest assured that DITO remains committed to its commercial launch mandated in its CPCN. We are doing all we can to try and do our commercial launch earlier as we realize the pressing need of our services especially during this pandemic,” said the Chief Administrative Officer.