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Senate body OKs Dito franchise renewal

Grace Poe
Sen. Grace Poe

THE Senate committee on public services chaired by Senator Grace Poe approved the franchise renewal of Dito Telecommunity for another 25 years.

Dito Telecommunity, which was granted 3rd telco player status, is holding a congressional franchise through Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company (now Dito) which expires in 2023.

Poe said the primordial factor in the franchise renewal of Dito Telecommunity is its commitment to adequately deliver its communication services for the welfare and satisfaction of the general public.

Allow me to reiterate that the grant of a franchise is not a right, but a privilege. New franchise applicants must establish that there is a public need for the service they propose to deliver and the means to adequately provide it,” Poe said during her committee’s hearing.

Poe reiterated the importance of a strong Internet connectivity especially now that the country’s educational system shifted to on-line teaching due to pandemic.

She reminded telcos that under Bayanihan 2, they should be able to provide fast and quality connectivity to the people.

With Dito expected to provide adequate services within this year, the senator is confident that the telecommunication companies could work hand in hand in a friendly competition beneficial to their respective clients.

Commissioner Edgardo Cabarios of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said that based on audit report by an independent auditor R.G. Manabat & Co., Dito accomplished its initial population coverage of 37.48 percent, and minimum average internet speeds of 85.9 megabits per second (Mbps) for 4G and 507.5 Mbps for 5G.

When we talk about the deliverables it seems that… Dito Telecommunity has actually delivered…so when I defend this franchise before the body, I can say that this was also actually audited by an independent advocacy group, hindi lamang NTC,” Poe said during the hearing.

Rodolfo Santiago, Chief Technology Officer of Dito, said that the telco will be able to meet the required 51-percent population coverage by July 2021, which is part of its second-year commitment.

Dito, owned by Davao-based businessman Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and state-run China Telecom, made its commercial debut on Mar. 8 in the Visayas and Mindanao and expected to be available in the national capital region by mid 2021.