DITO to launch commercially on March 8 starting with Davao, Cebu

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2021 11:54 AM | Updated as of Feb 23 2021 01:33 PM

MANILA - DITO Telecommunity said Tuesday it would launch commercially on March 8 starting in Davao and Cebu, its chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said.

The first phase of the launch will be in Mindanao, a "sentimental" decision to honor the company's origin, Tamano said during a virtual press conference. The telco was initially called Mislatel or Mindanao Islamic Telephone before being renamed as DITO.

DITO is a consortium of Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy with China Telecom.

By March 8, 17 cities and nearby municipalities in Mindanao and Visayas will have DITO telco services, Tamano said. 

"We want the public to know that on March 8 the year, we will be having our commercial launch. Phased launch. First in Mindanao. We will make ourselves available on March 8 Regional starting with Davao and Cebu," Tamano said.

"Initial commercial rollout in Mindanao and Visayas. Within the year, we will be offering our services as well in NCR," he added.

Tamano said there will be 10 to 20 points of sale in Visayas and Mindanao as well as online by March 8. There are also about 20 stores in "various stages of construction."

Tamano said the March 8 event would be a "humbler" launch with "nothing grand."

The third telco passed its first technical audit, breaching both its internet speed and population coverage commitment for the first year. 

According to the audit, DITO has a minimum broadband speed of 507.5 Mbps for 5G and 85.9 Mbps for 4G. Internet speed near base stations registered 102.4 Mbps for 4G and 769.1 Mbps for 5G, the NTC said, citing data from independent auditor R.G. Manabat & Co.

At mid-point net connection speed reached 91.2 Mbps for 4G and 437.1 Mbps for 5G while tests in areas farther from the stations registered 64.4 Mbps for 4G and 316.5 Mbps for 5G. 

DITO's initial commitment was to provide "near-Singapore" internet speeds of at least 27 Mbps on its first year. 

The third telco covered 37.48 percent of the national population covering 8,860 barangays, a little over its initial commitment of 37.03 percent, the audit showed. 

The company earlier committed to build at least 1,300 cell towers and base stations on its first year but they can easily construct at least 2,000, DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago earlier said.

Telco towers are currently being built nationwide, including within military camps. DITO has said it has been investing heavily on technology as well as cybersecurity following concerns from several lawmakers over espionage. 

Chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said the telco is also on track to achieve its second year target of covering 51 percent of the population, in time for its second year technical audit in July 8.

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