The Senate Committee on Public Services Monday, December 7, has deferred the franchise renewal of DITO Telecommunity.
As per the senate committee, DITO Telecommunity should first prove that they can deliver the services they have promised, which is to provide at least 27mbps of internet speed to 37 percent of the population during its first year of operations.
DITO‘s Adel Tamano said that the coverage should increase to 50 percent in its second year, 70 percent on the third, and 84 to 90 percent in the fourth year.
Senate committee chair Grace Poe said in the hearing that DITO should have the forecast when they applied for the franchise. The company then has to provide the services they have committed, after which the additional 25-year franchise will be granted.
Tamano said that DITO’s viability would rely on how the users would react to their services. The company did promise that it would be more affordable and faster than the current services offered by Smart and Globe.
DITO said that they are confident they have sufficient funding for the current and next year, but what would be really critical “is that we have our services next year.”
DITO’s franchise, which it inherited from Mislatel, will expire in 2023. Senate majority leader Juan Miguel Zubiri is backing DITO’s push to get another 25-year franchise as most applicants can only get their loans approved once they have permit.
Zubiri noted that the failure to have loans granted would prohibit DITO from accomplishing its deliverables since they’re not as big as Ayala and MVP (Manuel V. Pangilinan).
However, Poe responded by saying that DITO shouldn’t have anticipated getting their renewal granted unless they were able to deliver the commitments they made.
The senator added: “What we’re trying to prevent here is other applicants will anticipate a renewal and they are not anymore rolling out unless they get that renewal of the franchise. I don’t want a committee to be a hostage of that,”.
Senator Risa Hontiveros praised the senate’s decision to put DITO’s franchise renewal on hold. She asked the lawmakers to further study the effects of DITO’s operation in the country since it’s co-owned by a Chinese company.
DITO targets to launch its commercial services on March 2021 and has started the user testing phase.