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3rd telco rollout starts moving

/ 05:32 AM October 04, 2019

DITO Telecommunity, the country’s third mobile player, named key private sector partners in the rollout of crucial infrastructure as it planned to launch commercial operations by 2020.

DITO announced a partnership on Thursday with SkyCable Corp., owned by the Lopez family’s ABS-CBN Corp., and the group of politician Luis Chavit Singson, who last year launched a failed bid for the third telco slot.

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The agreements are aimed at helping DITO, backed by the group of Davao-based businessman and presidential friend Dennis A. Uy and state-run China Telecom, reach its tough coverage commitments to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“These two deals allow DITO to tap reliable local partners and their existing telecommunication infrastructure assets to support our network rollout, without having to build everything from scratch; done to ensure that we soon deliver on our promise of faster, more affordable and most importantly secure internet connectivity for our countrymen,” DITO chief administrative officer Adel A. Tamano said in a statement.

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These are DITO’s first known tie-ups with the private sector. Last month, it signed an agreement with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to build telco facilities inside military camps.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier said the deal with the AFP was not yet final and required his approval.

DITO signaled its openness to partner with other groups. Under its commitments to the NTC, the company promised to cover at least 37 percent of the population on its first year—a period that would end on July 8, 2020.

Over its five-year commitment period, it promised to cover 84 percent of the Philippines and offer internet speeds of at least 55 megabits per second.

In its statement, DITO said the deal with SkyCable—a growing player in the broadband space— covered the latter’s unused fiber optic cables within Metro Manila.

The deal with Singson’s LCS Holdings, meanwhile, covered building new telco towers “in key areas of the country.”

“LCS, despite conceding to DITO in the third telco bid, is still very passionate in fulfilling its commitment to the public in improving the quality of telecommunication services, with the underserved first in mind,” Singson, who sits as chair of LCS, said in the same statement.

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Tamano said they planned to hold groundbreaking activities for new cell sites “within the next few days.”

It remains unclear whether LCS and DITO have resolved a previous row in the wake of the third telco bidding process in November last year.

LCS’ partner sued DITO’s telco franchise, Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co., for breach of contract.  The case was filed by Digiphil Technologies Inc., which was part of Mindanao-based telco TierOne, before the Pasig Regional Trial Court.

Singson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the status of the case on Thursday.

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TAGS: Dennis A. Uy, Dito Telecommunity, SkyCable Corp., third mobile player
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