DITO says Rio misinformed on technical audit extension

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 03 2020 04:50 PM

MANILA - DITO Telecommunity said Friday former Department of Information and Communications Technology Usec. Eliseo Rio was misinformed about the third telco's technical audit extension.

In a Senate hearing earlier, Rio said if DITO failed to have the technical audit on July 8, then they would have used up the 6-month remedial period to satisfy their commitments.

DITO applied for a 6-month extension of its scheduled July 8 technical audit, to account for delays due to the coronavirus pandemic and resulting lockdowns, chief administrative officer Adel Tamano told reporters in a video conference.

The audit delay will have no impact on DITO's March 2021 commercial rollout, Tamano said. The remedial periods, where they can correct issues, will be after the technical audit has been completed, he said.

The NTC granted the request by pushing back the audit to January 2021. The audit will allow the government to check the network set-up by the third telco, he said.

"I’ll just call it a bit of misinformation. Sec Rio is also not that familiar with the Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) that was issued to us," Tamano said.

"If you fail the technical audit, that doesn’t stop you from having a commercial launch," he added.

Tamano added that there was no requirement as to the number of towers it should build on its first year. The 1,300 earlier disclosed was a voluntary commitment to cover 37 percent of the population.

So far, it has 300 "live" towers which cover 9 percent of the population, below the 37 percent commitment for the first year. Some 500 towers have been erected, he added.

DITO also inked deals with 3 common tower builders for another 500 towers, Santiago said.

In a separate statement, Rio said he wasn't aware that the NTC has granted DITO a 6-month extension on the technical audit.

"Since I am already out of DICT, I depend on public announcements for information, and I may have missed it. But I am correct that without that extension they would have used up the first remedial periods as per the TOR of the selection process," Rio told ABS-CBN News.

"NTC can grant extensions due to circumstances that is beyond the control of DITO to satisfy their commitment, in this case, the COVID-19 pandemic. So with that, I stand corrected," he said.

DITO committed to offer up to 27 mbps internet speed on its first year, to rival the speeds of Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc.

-- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News