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Dennis Uy's Dito Will Likely Miss Tech Launch Deadline, But Says It’s On Track for Commercial Launch Next Year

The third telco has only built 300 of committed 1,300 cell towers.
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Dito Telecommunity, the country’s third telecommunications player, will likely miss its deliverables during a technical audit scheduled for July 8, but insists it will push through with its commercial launch during the first quarter of 2021.

During a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Dito’s chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, including a prolonged lockdown, have disrupted its rollout of cell towers needed for its telecommunications services.

“To get the 37 percent coverage that is our requirement under our CPCN (certificate of public convenience and necessity), we need 1,300 towers,” The Philippine Star quoted Tamano as saying.

The company, however, admits that only 300 of the required 1,300 towers have so far been completed. The rest are in various stages of development.

“The COVID and lockdowns have prevented us from our full rollout,” Tamano said. “With the subsequent easing of the different lockdown situations, we are doing our best to get back on track so that we can get the 37 percent first year requirement under our CPCN completed.”

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In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Friday, Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., a subsidiary company also controlled by Dito’s president and CEO Dennis Uy, assured investors that it intends to meet the company’s planned commercial launch early next year.

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The Philippine Star report also quoted Eliseo Rio, the former undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology who led the selection of the country’s third telco player. Rio said Dito is allowed six months to correct any deficiencies, but that missing the upcoming July 8 deadline is counted as a strike against the company.

The government is allowing Dito two strikes within its five-year commitment period.

“Definitely they are saying that they could not have the 1,300 finished by July 8, that is already next week, but definitely it will be finished before December 31 and that is still within the requirements or provision of the terms of reference,” Rio said.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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