MANILA, Philippines– Globe and Smart subscribers looking to shift to Dennis Uy’s Dito Telecommunity won’t be able to do so this year, contrary to what officials previously said.
On Thursday, February 20, Dito chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said their commercial rollout will be in March 2021, as the company further fine-tunes its services to beat the telco duopoly.
Tamano was previously quoted as saying that commercial operations would start by the 2nd quarter of 2020. (READ: FAST FACTS: Mislatel, the new major telco player)
“While has there been some talk of commercial operations starting as early as September or November [of 2019], realistically our target is in 2020 because we want to put our network in place so we’ll have good service,” Tamano had said in an interview with CNN Philippines in July 2019.
Tamano explained on Thursday that this is not another postponement, since Dito’s network would be available by July 2020 – but not for consumers to use just yet.
“In our CPCN (certificate of public convenience and necessity), the July 18, 2020 refers to our technical launch, which means that we have to have the entire network set and government will audit us if we are reaching our commitment of 37% coverage and 27 Mbps – that is only a technical launch, that isn’t a commercial launch,” Tamano said.
The technical launch would also determine the network’s stability and check the quality of customer service support, according to Tamano.
Before the government’s audit, Dito plans to make the “first call,” proof that all components of the network are already in place.
“It will be through voice over LTE…. Our first call might even be a video call,” Dito chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said.
Dito also aims to build 1,600 towers by July 2020, which covers 37% of the Philippine population. Close to 600 base installations have been done to date, comprising owned and common towers.
In summary, here is Dito’s updated timeline, which Tamano said will be “on track”:
- May 2020 – the “first call”
- July 2020 – cover 37% of the country’s population by building 1,600 towers, ready for technical audits
- September 2020 – pre-commercial trials
- March 2021 – official launch of commercial operations