MANILA - Filipino-Chinese consortium Mislatel, which will set up the Philippines' third telco, committed to match the coverage of Globe and PLDT in 3 years, an official said Tuesday.
The joint venture of businessman Dennis Uy and China Telecom committed to cover 37 percent of the country on its first year and 70 percent on its third year, Acting Information and Communications Technology Secretary Eliseo Rio said.
By its fifth year, Mislatel's coverage will grow to up to 84 percent, Rio told the Senate Committee on Public Services.
"Globe and Smart, now in their 20 years of operations, up to now they only covered up to 70 percent of the country," Rio said. Smart Communications is PLDT's mobile unit.
Mislatel also promised to deliver internet speed of 27 mbps in its first year, he said.
"We are not burdened by obsolete technology. We will be bringing in new technology, the latest, most innovative technology. In fact, we are looking to bring in 5G," Mislatel spokesperson Adel Tamano said.
The third telco's promise of putting up 1,000 cell sites in 12 months is "laudable" but "highly doubtful," University of the Philippines professor and former Smart executive Rogelio Quevedo said.
Cell site construction alone can take 6 to 9 months, he said.
Globe and PLDT are having a hard time securing local and residential permits needed to construct cell sites due to opposition from communities in highly populated areas.
"Maybe I can believe that you can put up 200 cell sites in 1 year, but with due respect I highly doubt that you can put up 1,000 cell sites," he said.
The government will forfeit Mislatel's P24-billion performance bond should it fail to deliver on its commitments, Rio said.
"It is very true that these are very aggressive numbers but we believe we could achieve this. We're not entering this without a clear business plan," Tamano said.
"We have the technical expertise to do it. We have partners. We do not have to start from scratch," he said.