The operator says that its more well-established rivals are refusing to support interconnection with DITO customers
This week, DITO has announced it has filed two complaints against Globe Telecom and PLDT (Smart) with the Philippine Competition Commission, claiming that the two larger telcos are exploiting their dominant market position to prevent DITO from competing fairly.
The operator alleges that Globe and Smart have failed to follow the standards of the National Telecommunications Commission, which requires all mobile operators to ensure good interconnection between rival networks.
"Out of 100 calls that DITO makes to reach out to one of these telcos, only 30 are able to get through. Seventy out of 100 calls are unable to interconnect. For the other one, it’s even worse, out of 100 calls, only 20 are able to interconnect," said DITO’s Chief Administrative Officer Adel Tamano.
DITO Telecommunity launched its mobile services in the Philippines in March 2021, aiming to break up the duopoly of Globe and Smart.
The Philippines had been seeking a third mobile entrant since at least 2019, with then-President Rodrigo Duterte repeatedly blaming the country’s bipartite mobile market for the Philippine’s relative lack of infrastructure development compared to its international neighbours.
As a result, the launch of DITO was met with much fanfare, with the new operator saying it would aggressively take on the existing operators, pledging to invest $6 billion in its new network and aiming to capture 30% of the market.
Since then, the company has indeed gained subscribers rapidly. By the end of 2021, roughly nine months after launch, the company had reached five million subscribers. Today, that figure stands at around 11 million, with DITO saying it is aiming to reach 12 million by the end of the year.
DITO says that its rapid customer acquisition is due to their competitive pricing and high-quality service.
But while this growth is no doubt impressive, it still leaves the newcomer utterly dwarfed by both Globe and Smart, which have around 87 million and 71 million mobile subscribers, respectively.
"We are alleging abuse of dominant position. Obviously Globe and Smart are in a dominant position. They’re giants. Our market share for the entire market is at most 5 percent," said Tamano, who said that DITO’s growth would be “much, much higher if interconnections were okay”.
Globe and Smart have yet to officially respond to this announcement.