Third telco DITO to 'spend on towers rather than K-Pop stars': official

Jessica Fenol and Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2021 02:55 PM

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

MANILA - Popular Korean actors and K-pop stars are unlikely to endorse third telco DITO Telecommunity as the company would rather spend on towers and network expansion, its chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said Tuesday.

DITO, which is owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy and China Telecom, will launch commercially on March 8 starting in Davao and Cebu.

The launch will be in waves, starting with 17 cities and nearby municipalities in Visayas and Mindanao before moving to the National Capital Region and the rest of the country this year, the telco said. 

But there is "nothing grand" planned for its March 8 commercial debut, Tamano told reporters in a virtual briefing.

"We’d rather spend on towers and network than on K-pop stars. Being very showbiz I do enjoy K-pop drama once in a while but we’d rather spend our money on towers," Tamano said.

"We envisioned ourselves as a much humbler company. Nothing grand for our commercial launch. Something that I hope will be seen by the public as a good gesture," he added.

Satisfied users of the telco will serve as endorsers, he said. 

"Our endorsers will be the public, that's why we’re not spending millions and millions of pesos to get big names as endorsers," Tamano said. 

PLDT Inc and Globe Telecom have tapped popular Korean actors to endorse their products such as real life couple Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin as well K-pop group Blackpink. 

SECOND YEAR COMMITMENT

The telco passed its first technical audit with a minimum broadband speed of 507.5 Mbps for 5G and 85.9 Mbps for 4G as well as 37.48 national population coverage, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has said. 

The NTC however noted that there were no subscribers using DITO's network when the audit was made.

DITO said the internet speed from the trial will likely differ from what subscribers will experience when they start using the company's services. 

But DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago said DITO will keep its commitment to provide at least 27 Mbps of connection.

The company is also "on track" to meet its second year commitment of covering 51 percent of the Philippine population by July 8, Santiago said. 

As of writing, DITO has about 45 percent of population coverage, he added.

DITO's 5-year commitment is to cover 84 percent of the population. 

Towers are being built nationwide and areas within military camps where towers will rise have also been identified, Santiago said. In Camp Aguinaldo, DITO has secured approval for 5 tower sites. 

DITO is also talking with its Chinese partners to bring in cheaper handsets, Tamano said, as using 5G connectivity required 5G-enabled handsets.

“We are a service company, we are not a handset company. But we had discussions on how we will leverage our connections with our ChinaTel partners. They have such a big market, and a lot of the handset makers are in China," he said.

DITO is also in talks to interconnect with other telcos and service providers. PLDT Inc earlier announced it signed an interconnection deal with the third telco.

DITO has also been allocated the following prefixes for subscribers:

  • 0991
  • 0992
  • 0993
  • 0994
  • 0898
  • 0897
  • 0895
  • 0896

DITO officials declined to disclose pricing, promos and other marketing related to the launch citing stiff competition in the industry. The March 8 launch will be a "surprise" and different from traditional launches, Tamano said.