President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law renewing the franchise of DITO Telecommunity Corp., the country’s third telecom player, for another 25 years.
Republic Act No. (RA) 11537, signed by Duterte on Tuesday, extends DITO’s franchise for another 25 years from its expiration on April 24, 2023 unless sooner revoked or canceled.
The franchise shall be deemed ipso facto (by the fact itself) revoked in the event the grantee fails to operate continuously for two years.
DITO shall apply for the renewal or extension of its franchise three years before its expiration which shall be reckoned from 15 days after the publication of the franchise in the Official Gazette or in a newspaper of general circulation.
Under RA 11537, DITO shall secure from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) a certificate of public convenience and necessity or the appropriate permits and licenses for the construction, installation, and operation of its telecommunications systems or facilities.
In issuing the certificate, the NTC shall have the power to regulate and impose such conditions relative to the construction, operation, maintenance, or service level of the telecommunications systems or facilities. Such certificate shall state the areas covered and the date DITO shall commence the service, it added.
DITO, the law said, shall not use any frequency in the radio spectrum without authorization from the NTC. The NTC, however, shall not unreasonably withhold or delay the grant of such authority, permit, or license.
“In case of any violation of the provisions of this franchise, the NTC shall have the authority to revoke or suspend, after due process, the permits or licenses it issued pursuant to the franchise. The assignment of frequencies to the franchisee shall be subject to review at regular intervals,” the law said.
DITO made its commercial roll out last March and will initially offer 4G mobile services to 37 percent of the country’s population with an average speed of 27 Megabits per second (Mbps), with broadband services planned for rollout next year.
DITO Chief Administrative Officer Adel Tamano said during the company’s initial commercial roll out that its services is limited to 4G with plans for a 5G rollout at a later date, with no planned support for “legacy technology” such as 2G and 3G. He added DITO aims to bring “pure 5G technology” in the country through its partner China Telecom by next year, made possible through its planned P257-billion investment in five years.
“Internet of things, artificial intelligence, ito ‘yung (these are) leapfrogging technologies based sa (on) 5G that we will be bringing to this country,” Tamano said.
He touted the company’s “unprecedented” construction of 1,900 sites within two years, the first in the country’s history.
Last February 22, DITO officially passed its first technical audit by independent auditor R.G. Manabat and Co., showing that its network is capable of providing fast mobile data speeds at 506.5 Mbps for 5G and 85.9 Mbps for 4G. SOVEREIGNPH