On the last day of the session before the Holy Week recess, the Senate on Monday approved the franchises of DITO Telecommunity Corp., another telecommunications company, and four broadcast firms.
Senator Grace Poe, the chairperson of the Committee on Public Services, steered the passage of the measures.
The franchise of DITO Telecommunity Corp got the approval of 17 senators, with Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Pangilinan voting against it and Senator Panfilo Lacson abstaining.
Previously, the telecommunications sector was being dominated by SMART/Philippine Long Distance Company and Globe Telecommunications.
Poe said the entry of DITO Telecommunity as a new major player in the Philippine telecommunications market would spur the competition for more affordable and better internet and mobile services available to more Filipinos.
House Bill 7332 seeks to renew DITO’s franchise for another 25 years. DITO holds a congressional franchise via Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc., which is set to expire in 2023.
DITO, which was launched commercially last March 8 in various areas in Visayas and Mindanao, was selected as the new major player in the Philippine telecommunications market. It was given a five-year network rollout to realize its commitment to provide at least 55 mbps (megabits per second) of mobile data connectivity to at least 84 percent of the country’s population.
The Senate also approved on third and final reading House Bill 7615, under Committee Report No. 207, which seeks to grant the franchise of Instant Data Inc.*