DITO Telecommunity, which is angling to become the nation’s third major telecommunications firm after Globe and Smart, has been upbraided for its failure to acsertain the amount of funds needed for the success of its ambitious undertaking.
Senator Grace Poe, who heads the committee on Public Services, was irked that DITO officials were trying to fool senators into granting them an early renewal of their franchise (which lapses in 2023) by claiming this would enable them to secure more funding from investors.
“It seems they are ill-prepared with their financial studies. One cannot come to the battlefield without the necessary equipment. Parang trial and error ang kanilang ginagawa, which does not bode well for them,” according to a highly-placed Senate source.
The Senate is currently deliberating on a bill seeking the renewal of DITO’s franchise for 25 years, starting 2023.
Poe deplored the fact that DITO failed to anticipate the level of funding needed to operate at full steam.
DITO said it would need an additional $2.5 billion on top of the $500 million already drawn from its partner China Telecommunications Corp. to meet its commitment to the Philippine government of $3-billion spending in its first year.
DITO disclosed to senators that deferral of the sought-after franchise renewal would make it harder for them to obtain further financing.
Poe said that DITO mustn’t try to pressure the Senate into granting its application for early franchise renewal as the predicament they are facing is entirely their fault.
DITO and its foreign partner China Telecoms had advanced a P25-billion performance bond in 2019, which would be forfeited in favor of the government should it renege on its commitment to deliver faster internet service (27 mbps), comprehensive barangay connectivity and network coverage to 37 percent of the population in its first year of operation.
Makati Rep. Luis Campos Jr. said the government may end up seizing DITO’s performance bond and recalling its assigned frequencies should it fail to honor its commitments.
Photo: AsiaOne / Abante TNT