Dito makes its debut as 3rd telco, launches in Cebu, Davao
Telco startup Dito Telecommunity made its anticipated commercial debut on Monday, promising to provide a “better option” to Filipinos and signalling a new era in the local telecommunications industry.
With its commercial launch, paying subscribers can begin to use the company’s mobile services such as internet, text messaging and calls.
The company’s launch program was streamed online and was attended by Dito officials including CEO Dennis Uy and counterparts from strategic partner China Telecom, Information and Communications Secretary Gregorio Honasan II, National Telecommunications Commission commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba and Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian Duterte.
Dito’s first customers will be 3,000 front-liners in Davao and nine other cities in Mindanao and Visayas where Dito made its commercial launch, chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said on Monday.
They will be allowed free use of Dito’s services with free SIM cards and phones.
Dito limited its launch to 15 areas in Metro Cebu and Davao. Tamano said other areas, such as Metro Manila would follow in a few weeks and Dito has prepared at least 1 million SIM cards to be distributed or sold as it opens in new locations.
The company’s opening salvo against rivals PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom was a P199 promo until the end of March 2021 for unlimited calls, texts and mobile internet within Dito’s network.
The company is also working to fully interconnect its network with PLDT and Globe also within the coming weeks.
Dito, owned by Uy’s Udenna Group and China Telecom, was selected as the third major telco player in 2018 under then Information and Communications Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. and was part of the Duterte administration’s push to introduce new competition in telecommunications.
“The launch of the new player, Dito Telecommunity, is a major development in the telco sector that has long been ruled by dominant incumbents,” Philippine Competition Commission chair Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement.
“Let competition run its course to see how the telco race will result in competitive pricing and raise the level of overall connectivity, quality, and coverage in the country,” he added.
During his remarks on Monday, Uy said the launch served as vindication against their detractors.
“We faced the Senate, Congress and our regulators, knowing all too well that a good number of people were thinking we would eventually fail. They were wrong. Here we are,” Uy said.
This comes even as lingering concerns hang over Dito’s business viability and security risks from partner China Telecom amid a broader territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
Dito is tied to a five-year commitment period with the government until 2024 and Uy said they viewed the business as a long-term public service with no shortcut to profitability.
“It was never about making a fast buck,” Uy said. “We knew it was a long-term commitment and if we delivered on our promises then the business would flourish.”
During the launch, Honasan said much was expected of the startup telco.
“The people are counting on unhampered connectivity services, quality internet and responsive service,” he said on Monday.
Dito said internet speeds would start at a minimum average of 27 megabits per second, going up to 55 Mbps by middle of 2021 until 2024.
—With a report from Roy Stephen Canivel INQ
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