Despite “leaning heavily” on consortium partner China Telecom for technology needs, third telco player DITO Telecommunity on Thursday downplayed fears of cybersecurity threats.
In a press briefing, chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago clarified that DITO is a Filipino company that will not expose the country to unrestricted espionage.
He said DITO is currently working closely with the Armed Forces of the Philippines and National Security Adviser to ensure its network will be cyber-secured.
“We commit to the government that we are cyber-secure and we assure you that our network will not be used against our national security. That’s a very firm commitment,” Santiago told reporters.
Cybersecurity plan in offing
Senators Francis Pangilinan and Franklin Drilon recently called out DITO’s plan to build telco towers within military grounds, which they said was a threat to the country’s cybersecurity.
But unlike PLDT and Globe, Santiago said DITO is mandated to submit a cybersecurity plan as stated in its agreement with the government.
Meanwhile, DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano clarified that the company’s partner Chinese Telecom has only been providing them technological assistance to challenge the duopoly of PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom.
“They are only our technology partners and we are leaning heavily on them for that. They are the expert in that,” Tamano told reporters.
Equity plan depends on mart
When the government moves to ease foreign ownership restrictions, the DITO officials said the decision to raise foreign equity should they need more funds will still depend largely on “market conditions.”
“It’s hard to say if we will raise our foreign equity because it depends how business will go. If we are doing well, then there will be more Filipino investors,” Tamano explained.
DITO consortium is made up of Dennis Uy’s Udenna Corp., its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Inc., which owns 60 percent of the firm and China Telecommunications Corp., which owns the remaining 40 percent.
With a minimum speed of 27 megabits per second and capital and operating expenses of P150 billion, DITO vowed to achieve a nationwide coverage of 37.03 percent in its first rollout of operations.
DITO promised to cover 84 percent of the Philippines and offer a minimum average speed of at least 55 mbps by the end of its commitment.
The company received its certificate of public convenience and necessity from the National Telecommunications Commission last July 2019 to operate as the third major telco.
The telco firm, by law to officially start commercial operations by March 2021, was established to answer President Rodrigo Duterte’s call to end the duopoly of PLDT and Globe.