DITO close to hitting 1M subscribers, to build facilities in Camp Aguinaldo

Jessica Fenol and Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 11 2021 03:58 PM

MANILA - DITO Telecommunity said Friday it was "very close" to hitting the 1 million subscriber mark before its second-year audit set in July. 

The third telco will also soon start the construction of cell sites within Camp Aguinaldo, DITO chief technology officer Retired Maj. Gen. Rodolfo Santiago told reporters in a virtual briefing. 

"Camps not exempt from permitting. However, they are inside camps they have additional requirements from us before being finally allowed to build…We are in advanced stage to finally build towers inside camp Aguinaldo," said Santiago.

"We are about to start the actual building. We were able to submit all requirements," he added.

DITO is hoping that the process of building inside Camp Aguinaldo will be the model for other builds within military camps, he said. 

The telco provider earlier signed an agreement with the Armed Forces of the Philippines to build facilities within military camps. 

Critics fear that the agreement could pave the way for espionage, with state-run China Telecom as a partner in the DITO consortium along with Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy. 

The Philippines and China have unresolved disputes over the South China Sea. 

But Santiago said, both Globe Telecom and PLDT Inc have the same agreement. DITO, in fact, has "special criteria that has not been done with the current 2 major players," he added.

Santiago said DITO's requirements are more strict compared with that of the other 2 players. It includes authority by the military to enter their site at anytime. He said they were able to comply and that a security audit has already been conducted. 

INDEPENDENCE DAY MILESTONE

DITO will be able to cover additional 23 cities and municipalities by June 12, which would bring the total coverage to 123 areas in time for the celebration of the Philippines' 123rd Independence day, Santiago said. 

A P499 plan with unlimited data for 30 days and P99 "value meal" promo of 10GB for 30 days will be available from June 12 to 18 as part of the telco's independence day campaign, said DITO Brand and marketing manager Jasper Evangelista.

Evangelista said DITO is confident it woud reach the 1-million milestone since users were at 800,000 as of June 10.

Santiago said they hope to cover as many as 150 total cities and municipalities in time for its second-year audit on July 8. 

He said DITO is "about ready to achieve" its second year commitment which is to cover 51 percent of the population. So far, it has built some 3,000 sites, he said.

When asked why there are still connection issues, Santiago said "while we are glad that a higher bar is being used to judge us, we would like of course to let the public understand that we are still in the process of building our network."

Chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said an announcement would be made once the much-awaited 5G connection becomes available. 

The technology is ready, Santiago said. 

Both Globe Telecom and PLDT have fired up 5G sites across the country.

DITO formally launched last March in Cebu and Davao, and in Luzon a few weeks after. It committed to cover over 37 percent of the population and offer a minimum of 27 Mbps speed on its first year.

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