House OKs bill granting 25-year franchise to 3rd telco player DITO
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on Monday the 25-year franchise bid of DITO Telecommunity Corp., the third telco player in the country.
With 240 affirmative votes and only seven negative votes, the lawmakers approved House Bill No. 7332, which renews the Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company Inc.’s–presently known as DITO Telecommunity Corporation–franchise to “construct, establish, install, maintain, and operate wire and/or wireless telecommunications system in the Philippines.”
“The franchise shall be extended and in effect for a period of 25 years from its expiration on April 24, 2023, unless sooner revoked or cancelled. This franchise shall be deemed ipso facto revoked in the event the grantees fail to operate continuously for two years,” the bill reads.
DITO was selected as the country’s third major telco player back in 2018 and is owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and state-run China Telecom.
It was named as the third major telco player to break the duopoly of Smart and Globe in the telecommunications industry and is seen to improve internet service in the country.
Under its franchise, DITO is obliged to cover at least 37 percent of the population, with an average minimum internet speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps). They are also required to put up 2,500 cell towers by July 8, 2020.
However, in a Senate hearing back in early July, DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano bared that the company had only completed 300 operational cell sites, which is less than a quarter of the 1,300 needed to meet their target.
Citing delays brought by the coronavirus pandemic, the company was able to obtain a six-month reprieve on its commitment.
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