Coronavirus further delays the launch of the Philippines' long awaited third telco

Published: 2 March 2020 - 6:43 a.m.

The Philippines long awaited third telco, Dito, has delayed its official launch as a result of shipping restrictions caused by the COVID19 Coronavirus.

Crucial network components that were due to be shipped from manufacturers in China have had to be held at the port in China, in an attempt to control the spread of the disease, which has so far killed 3,000 people and infected a total of 80,000 around the world.

Dito, which is 40 per cent owned by China Telecom, said that it was now looking for alternative sources for the missing network equipment.

“We don’t want to use that as an excuse, but being very honest our job is getting a little bit harder because of it (COVID-19),” Adel Tamano, Dito chief administrative officer, told journalists from the Philippines Star news site.

“We’re finding a solution,” he added.

Dito Telecommunity has already pushed back its official launch date from July 2020 to March 2021, as it grapples with a number of logistical challenges. Dito is still committed to meeting its technical launch date of July 2020.

As part of the legislation attached to its acquisition of a telecoms licence, Dito must provide 37 per cent of the Philippines’ population with average download speeds of 27mbps within the first year of its launch, or face stiff financial penalties from the country's telecoms regulator.

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