DITO Telecommunity said it is accelerating the rollout of its network to provide world-class internet access to the Filipino people by March next year after President Duterte threatened to shut down the operations of Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc.
“We cannot speak for what the president has mentioned in his State of the Nation Address yesterday,” DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said in a statement.
“As far as DITO Telecommunity is concerned, we all share the concern of the president for the need to provide world-class connectivity to the Filipino people, especially in the face of the pandemic,” he said.
Tamano said DITO was on track to meet the commercial rollout by March 2021. “Furthermore, DITO is currently working on meeting the 27 mbps [megabits per second] and 37-percent coverage in time for the government technical audit come January of 2021,” Tamano said.
“As DITO Telecommunity hastens its roll-out in time for the March 2021, let me assure the Filipino people that we recognize the clamor for the third major telco to already go on-air,” he said.
“DITO is doing all it can to work through the challenges, move forward, and launch soonest,” Tamano said.
Duterte, in his 5th SONA on Monday, threatened to shut down the operations of Globe and PLDT if they failed to improve telecom services by December this year.
“I’ve called on our communication companies to improve their services, or else we will be forced to take drastic steps…,” Duterte said.
“If you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and we will revert back to the line of telephone,” he said.
Globe said it would heed the call of the president to improve telco services, but the industry was facing many challenges. “We heed the call of the president to improve telco services,“ Globe vice president for corporate communications Yolanda Crisanto said.
Crisanto said service performance and increased consumer demand for data were the key reasons why the company was investing billions of dollars to upgrade and improve the company’s network.
“This year, Globe has earmarked $1.2 billion in capex, majority of which goes to network and capacity builds. These substantial investments are paying off as we experience marked service improvements, she said.
PLDT did not provide comment. It said earlier it would spend over P60 billion this year to fund network expansion.
Globe and PLDT’s network roll-out activities were constrained by reduced mobility of network teams since the enhanced community quarantine was imposed in March this year.