By EMMIE V. ABADILLA
The country’s third telco player, DITO Telecommunity Corporation, is “on track” for its year-one rollout commitments and will be commercially operational by March, 2021, executives told reporters in a briefing on Thursday held at its headquarters at Udenna Tower, Bonifacio Global City.
Of course, it’s possible to do it earlier than its scheduled date, sometime after its September , 2020 pre-commercial trials, according to Chief Administrative Officer Adel A. Tamano and Chief Technology Officer Rodolfo D. Santiago.
“But we have to test the stability of the network before the commercial launch,” the CTO noted.
Todate, DITO has 600 base stations, a mix of fully-owned and common towers, in varying stages of completion. Already, it has installations in Makati, San Juan and Pampanga.
It targets to have 1,600 towers total by July this year, the government-aporoved number to cover 37 per cent of the Philippine population.
To cover half of the country’s over 100 million people, the telco needs to have 3,500 base installations.
Anyway, DITO has sufficient funds for up to 5,000 base stations, according to the executives. They have already made the first P25 Billion draw down from the Bank of China – a portion of the P150 billion capital expenditure they committed to the government in their first year of operations.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) awarded a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to DITO, formerly known as Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (MISLATEL) last July.
The telco is a Filipino consortium that includes Udenna Corporation, Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure, and China Telecommunications Corporation.
A month after NTC issued the license, DITO started network engineering. Even earlier than that, it has submitted a top level network design as part of its bid.
This May, 2020 – or earlier, DITO plans to make the first call to prove that all components of its network are already in place, from the base stations to the network data centers that form the core of its operations.
By July, this year, DITO’s network will be read, with 37 per cent coverage of its service areas and woth 27 mbps speed. Regular technical audits start at this point.
By September, 2020, or earlier, the telco will begin pre-commercial trials of its services.
DITO committed 55mbps internet speed and more than 80-percent coverage of the population within its mandated five-year period of operations.