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Deficiencies found in 3rd telco audit

Advocacy group urges NTC to check Dito’s compliance with commitments
/ 05:20 AM March 11, 2021

An information and communications technology advocacy group said there were deficiencies in Dito Telecommunity’s first network audit last February and urged the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to plug those gaps in the company’s upcoming review this July.

After reviewing the more than 800-page audit report, Democracy.Net.Ph cofounder Pierre Galla said during a Senate hearing on Wednesday the NTC allowed the sampling of a limited number of barangays to determine if Dito met its first year commitment to the government.

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Galla said this was not the intention of stakeholders when they crafted the original terms of reference prior to the bidding for the third major telco slot in 2018.Instead of testing more than 8,800 barangays meant to prove that Dito met its first year promise to cover 37 percent of the Philippine population, Galla said the NTC allowed the sampling of just 2,671 barangays.

He said the field tests also covered 200 cell sites out of Dito’s 1,602 active sites.

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“We recommend a sampling method should not be applied [for the next audit],” Galla said.

The NTC confirmed that Dito passed its first network audit last Feb. 22.

Goal: 30% market share

Backed by Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy and state-run China Telecom, Dito began commercial operations last March 8 when it launched services in limited areas in Metro Cebu and Metro Davao.

Sharing updates on the company’s market debut, Dito chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said 22,748 people signed up for Dito’s service online, but only 30 percent of them were eligible partly because of device incompatibility.

Tamano added that 7,586 subscribers bought SIM cards as of March 9.

Tamano said Dito was still targeting to win over subscribers from incumbents PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom and reach a market share of more than 30 percent of more than 100 million Filipinos.

Dito’s initial list of compatible handsets includes high-end Samsung phones and brands such as MyPhone, Huawei, Oppo, TCL, Cherry Mobile and Vivo.

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Rodolfo Santiago, Dito chief technology officer, said during the hearing these devices were fully tested using Dito’s network and that they were working to add more handsets.

Pricing strategy

Meanwhile, Tamano said Dito was targeting to pay loans tied to its P257-billion, five-year capital spending budget by 2024. The company announced last year it was borrowing at least $500 million from Bank of China, but has since revealed no details on its financing requirements.

“The business model is there and we will aggressively run after that market share,” Tamano said.

Dito has yet to reveal concrete plans on its pricing strategy, but for this month, it rolled out a P199 promo for unlimited calls, texts and mobile internet within Dito’s network.

Dito holds a congressional franchise via Mindanao Islamic Telephone Co. that is set to expire in 2023. On Wednesday, the Senate public services committee approved the renewal of the company’s franchise.

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TAGS: Dito Telecommunity, National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
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