DITO says it has enough resources to challenge PLDT, Globe

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 20 2020 03:41 PM

DITO Telecommunications and Udenna Corporation headquarters in Taguig City on February 20, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - DITO Telecommunity has "enough" resources to fund its challenge to PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom, including fresh funding from the Bank of China to cover requirements in its first year, its spokesman said Thursday.

The consortium of Dennis Uy's Udenna Corp, Chelsea Logistics and state-run China Telecom, drew $500 million (P25.3 billion) from its loan facility with the Chinese lender, seeking to build up to 1,600 towers and rooftop facilities by July, said DITO Chief Administrative Officer Adel Tamano.

DITO is confident it can build 5,000 towers. It has so far constructed 600, Tamano told reporters.

"There are rumors that we don’t have resources for the rollout. We have drawn down $500 million facility from the Bank of China…This is enough for the first year requirement for the rollout," Tamano said.

DITO earlier said it could even "exceed" its initial target investment of $6 billion (P303 billion) for the rollout. 

On its technical launch or the first government audit in July, DITO should have 37 percent coverage and 27 mbps speed - its minimum commitment, Tamano said. 

It's first common tower with partner Chavit Singson's LCS Group will be completed in March, he said. 

The third telco plans to make its "first call milestone" in May to ensure all systems are in place, said chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago.

A "stress test" will be made in September, before the official launch of commercial operations in March 2021, he said. 

DITO Telecommunity chief administrative officer Adel Tamano and Retired Mj Gen. Rodolfo Santiago, DITO chief technology officer speak to the media during a briefing at Udenna Corp headquarters in Taguig. Feb. 20, 2020. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

The on-boarding of subscribers and the possibility of launching earlier than March next year depends on the results of the pre-commercial tests in September, Tamano said.

DITO Telecommunity received its license to operate as the country's third telco in July last year.

-- with a report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News