House approves 25-year franchise of 3rd telco player

Image via Facebook | DITO
  • The House of Representatives approved on third and final reading a bill granting the extension of DITO Telecommunity Corp.’s franchise for another 25 years
  • DITO is the third major telco player in the country
  • DITO, formerly known as Mislatel, is expected to start operating on March 2021

With 240 affirmative votes, 7 negative votes and zero abstention, the House of Representatives agreed to renew for another 25 years the franchise of DITO Telecommunity Corp., the third major telco player in the country.

Image via PNA/House of Representatives

House Bill 7332 allows DITO, formerly known as Mislatel Consortium, to “construct, establish, install, maintain, and operate wire and/or wireless telecommunications system in the Philippines.”

It, however, prohibits DITO to “lease, transfer, sell, or assign the franchise rights or privileges or its controlling interests without the approval of Congress.”

Dito Telecommunity is composed of Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., Udenna Corp, and China Telecom.

In 2018, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) welcomed the then Mislatel Consortium, headed by Davao-based businessman Dennis Uy, as the New Major Player in the telecom industry. The following year, Pres. Rodrigo Duterte awarded them the permit to operate in hopes to improve Internet service in the Philippines.

Image via PNA/Tech.ph

Mislatel was granted a legislative franchise in 1998 but they failed to operate within a year. However, they were given reprieve for “the urgent need for a third player to improve the country’s telecommunication services.”

In his State of the Nation Address, it can be recalled that Pres. Duterte threatened to close down existing telcos if they will not improve their service by the end of the year.

“The patience of the Filipino people is reaching its limit and I will be the one to articulate the anger of the Filipino people and you might not want what I intend to do with you,” he said. “If you are not ready to improve, I might just as well close all of you and we revert back to the line telephone at kukunin ko ‘yan. I-expropriate ko sa gobyerno.”

DITO plans to start commercial operations in March 2021.

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