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DITO launches commercial operations in Cebu, Davao

DITO Telecommunity Corp., the joint venture of businessman Dennis Uy and China Telecom, formally launched on Monday mobile services in the Visayas and Mindanao, its first step to challenge the duopoly PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc.

“Mission accomplished,” DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said during the virtual commercial launch.

“As we begin our commercial launch, all I can say is that there’s more work to be done and together, we will succeed and make a difference in transforming the landscape of Philippine telecommunications,” he said.

DITO is initially available in 10 key cities in Metro Cebu – Carcar, Cebu City, Consolacion, Danao, Liloan, Mandaue, Minglanilla, Naga, San Fernando, and Talisay—and five key cities in Metro Davao – Panabo, Tagum, Carmen, Davao City, and Digos.

The company plans to commercially roll out mobile services in Metro Manila in the second quarter.

It said that for the “welcome promo” it is offering unlimited data, DITO calls, and DITO-to-DITO texts for new subscribers from March 8 to March 31 for only P199.

DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said the “real competition” entered the country with the commercial launch of DITO.

“Before we launch, you see our competitors are already scrambling, lowering prices which we love. We love it that they are doing that, because the reason we enter this market was to compete and it just shows that they could have offered those things a long time ago. I’m glad that they are doing it now,” he said.

DITO promised to offer an Internet speed of 37 megabits per second to 37 percent of the population in its first year of operations and 55 Mbps to 51 percent of the population by the second year.

The company also plans to offer fixed broadband services to the home in the next two years.

DITO chairman Dennis Uy said the launching of DITO “was never about of making a fast buck.”

“We knew it was a long-term commitment and if we deliver on our promise, then the business will flourish. We need to be patient,” Uy said.

The company targets to get 30 percent of the telco market “as soon as possible,” according to Santiago.

“Thirty percent of the market share is more than enough to make profit,” he said.

Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Gregorio Honasan Jr. said DITO’s goal was to break the telecommunications duopoly in the market and boost healthy competition and advance growth.

“Now, after overcoming hurdles and passing the technical audit of your first year of rollout, we hope that this commercial rollout would bring about welcome dynamism to the current Philippine telecom industry. Truly, this launching represents a big boost in digital connectivity services for the Filipino people,” he said.

Arsenio Balisacan, chairman of Philippine Competition Commission, said the launch of the new player was a major development in the telecom sector that has been long ruled by dominant incumbents.

“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,” 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.

Balisacan said the PCC would monitor the market behavior of the players to ensure they compete on fair terms and would continue to advocate for pro-competition measures in the telecom sector.

Topics: DITO Telecommunity Corp. , Dennis Uy , China Telecom , Rodolfo Santiago
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