MVP ready for face-off vs Dennis Uy in telco supremacy
PLDT Inc. is ready to take on a new competitor with the expected entry of Dito Telecommunity in the second half of 2020.
“If they are there, we will be ready,” PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters in a recent interview.
Pangilinan said the company would continue to beef up its network—critical in retaining customers. He said PLDT was expected to surpass this year the record P78.4-billion capital expenses allocated in 2019 for its mobile and fixed-line infrastructure.
“We need to make customers happy, give them better services. That’s the only way you can compete: have the better service in the market,” Pangilinan said.
Dito Telecommunity is backed by China Telecom and Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy.
It emerged as the winning bidder in 2018 as the Duterte administration pushed for more competition in the telco sector, which is dominated by PLDT and Globe Telecom.
Pangilinan believed the impact of Dito would be felt in 2021, adding that competition with Globe would continue to be tight.
“Obviously, Globe is not sleeping. We’re also aggressive [we have] to make sure we do better than them,” he said.
In a statement last month, Dito said it was ready to launch commercial services by the middle of this year.
It said said it has acquired over 3,000 sites for cell towers and construction was “fully underway.” The figure was a big jump from the announcement last Oct. 16 that it would lease a single shared cell tower in the Northern Luzon town of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.
This would give Dito a third of the cell site footprint of either PLDT and Globe. The figure is crucial because Dito has a commitment to the government to cover at least 37 percent of the population in its first year—a period that ends on July 8, 2020.
But a telco industry executive told the Inquirer acquiring sites was “the easy part.”
The actual construction is still subject to the same constraints faced by the incumbents: the long permitting process that could stretch the construction period of a single cell tower up to eight months.
Dito had also signed deals with common tower companies accredited by the Department of Information and Communications Technology.
Apart from LCS Group, which is building the tower in Caoayan, Dito has agreements with China Energy Equipment Co. Ltd, Filipino-Malaysian Consortium ZEAL Power Construction and Development Corp., Leo Technologies Infrastructure Corp and Alt-Global-Solutions Inc.
Over its five-year commitment period, it promised to cover 84 percent of the Philippines and offer an internet speed of at least 55 megabits per second.
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