DITO confirms March launch as rivals ready networks for competition

DITO confirms March launch as rivals ready networks for competition

DITO Telecommunity has set 8th March as its commercial launch date after passing a technical audit conducted by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

The operator’s chief administrative officer Adel Tamano announced that the launch would unfold initially on the island of Mindanao– a nod to the consortium’s original name of Mislatel, which was an abbreviation of Mindanao Islamic Telephone.

Tamano noted that 17 cities across Mindanao and Visayas would be covered at launch, naming Cebu and Davao. DITO expects to be delivering services in the Metro Manila region within the next year.

DITO’s impending launch has pushed its established rivals to strengthen their networks, with PLDT chairman and CEO Manuel V Pangilinan confirming the expansion of its fibre optic network in a bid to address its weak fixed-line infrastructure across the market.

As reported by TeleGeography, Pangilinan noted that at the end of 2020 PLDT had rolled out 429,000km of fibre despite the logistical and financial difficulties of doing so – particularly in comparison to deploying wireless services. Additionally, PLDT extended its FTTH network to 48% of homes in the Philippines across 1,634 cities and municipalities.

Since the start of 2021, PLDT’s fibre deployment now exceeds 500,000km but Pangilinan acknowledged that there is “more that needs to be done” as it continues switching out its legacy copper network architecture with fibre.

Meanwhile, the other incumbent Globe Telecom has signed a three-year deal with Nokia that will see the Finnish vendor upgrade its 4G network and extend its 5G coverage to a further 1000 locations in the Philippines, including Mindanao and Visayas.

The deployment will begin in Q2 this year, and is expected to conclude in 2023. Nokia will deliver equipment and services from its 5G AirScale portfolio to enhance Globe’s RAN, including base stations and other products.

Using Nokia’s high-capacity AirScale massive MIMO Adaptive Antenna solution, Globe will be able to augment both its coverage and quality of service. The operator plans to use its newly-acquired 3.5GHz spectrum to provide coverage in densely populated urban areas, while the deal will also see Nokia expand its existing FDD/TDD LTE network infrastructure.

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