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Third telco rollout schedule stays, says DICT

/ 04:06 AM April 22, 2020

The Philippine government will not grant the country’s third major telco, Dito Telecommunity, special extensions to its rollout commitments despite the COVID-19 crisis that is disrupting global supply chains.

Eliseo Rio Jr., Undersecretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), said on Tuesday Dito could not seek any reprieve by invoking force majeure, or protection due to unforeseen events such as the pandemic, since this was

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not included in the terms of reference.

Dito, backed by China Telecom and the group of Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy, is expected to hold its technical launch by July this year. Its failure to meet its commitments will allow the national government to seize Dito’s P25.7-billion performance bond and recall assigned radio frequencies.

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The terms of reference, however, allow a grace period in case of a delay in its rollout.

Section 14 of the rules state that Dito will be allowed two grace periods of six months each within the five-year commitment period.

“If they, for example, miss the July deadline but were able to comply six months later, they will be allowed to continue, but that would be their strike one,” Rio said.

“If that happens again within the five-year period, that would be their strike two. But strike three, they are out,” he added.

In 2018, Dito won the bid to launch a nationwide telecommunications service to challenge incumbents PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom. It was awarded its license to operate on July 8, 2019—an event that outlined rollout milestones including its technical launch by July 2020. INQ

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