The country’s third telecom provider, DITO Telecommunity Corp., yesterday said it has spent over P150 billion for its network buildout, including the construction of over 1,532 towers which is enough to meet requirements for its technical audit and commercial launch set in the first quarter of next year.

    From 859 towers last September, DITO reported completing construction of 1,532 towers as of October 28. This is estimated to be more than enough to meet the 37 percent coverage and 27 megabits per second (Mbps) minimum internet speed, said Rodolfo Santiago, DITO chief technology officer.

    Santiago added the company is ready for the scheduled technical audit this January and commercial launch in March 2021.

    Adel Tamano, DITO chief administrative officer, said the company has spent beyond P150 billion to P157 billion this year and expects to invest P50 billion annually in the succeeding years.

    “We have spent P150 billion. It shows in the number of towers, the amount of cable that we put up and the organization. This year, the target is about P150 to P157 billion. We surpassed that and the average in the succeeding years is P50 (billion) per year,” Tamano said in a virtual briefing.

    The spending is part of the P257 billion committed investment in the first five years of its operation to deliver 55 Mbps minimum internet speed and 84 percent coverage.

    DITO is targeting to shorten the five years rollout to three years, Santiago said.

    The company expects its towers to number over 2,000 by yearend with the additional towers to be completed by independent tower companies.

    DITO has deployed fourth generation (4G)/Long Term Evolution and 5G networks to deliver faster internet services so it can compete with the two incumbent telcos.

    It is also building data centers and eight regional and two permanent core network centers.

    The company said it also invested P1 billion for cybersecurity.

    DITO was incorporated in Sept. 25, 1997, to primarily engage in the telecommunications business. It is 60.08 percent owned by Udenna Corp. and 39.92 percent by China Telecommunication Inc.