Dito Telecom to miss July 2020 target for cell sites amid lockdown

Aika Rey

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Dito Telecommunity chief administrative officer Adel Tamano says securing permits to build towers would not be as difficult, had it not been for the pandemic

MANILA, Philippines – Dennis Uy-led Dito Telecommunity will miss its technical rollout scheduled for July due to lockdown restrictions.

During the technical rollout, Dito’s network of cell sites will be subject to technical audits by the government. It would not yet be the commercial rollout to subscribers.

In a Senate hearing on Wednesday, July 1, Dito chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said the telco only has 300 operational cell sites to date. Dito committed to build 1,600 towers to cover 37% of the population.

Tamano explained that securing permits to put up towers would not be as difficult, had it not been for the pandemic.

“The COVID-19 [pandemic] and lockdowns prevented us from our full rollout. With the subsequent easing of different lockdown situations, we are doing our best to get back on track so that we can get the 37% [coverage] requirement under our CPC (certificate of public convenience) completed,” Tamano said.

Tamano told the panel that Dito will build 2,000 towers by the end of 2020, exceeding the requirement.

Missing the July technical rollout will give the telco 6 more months to meet its commitments to the Department of Information and Communications Technology, former undersecretary Eliseo Rio Jr said.

Under the terms of reference, Dito can miss targets twice. More than that, the telco will lose its P24-billion performance bond.

Dito Telecommunity, formerly Mislatel, is composed of Uy’s Udenna Corporation and publicly listed Chelsea Logistics, with Beijing-run China Telecom as its foreign partner. (IN CHARTS: Udenna Corp-China Telecom’s promises)

Among its latest partners are China Energy Equipment Company Ltd, Filipino-Malaysian consortium Zeal Power Construction and Development Corporation, Lopez-led Sky Cable Corporation, and Chavit Singson’s LCS Holdings. (READ: From rivals to partners: Chavit Singson teams up with Dennis Uy for 3rd telco)

Dito’s commercial rollout is expected to happen by March 2021. It promised to provide internet speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps) on average. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.