DITO says rivals are dragging feet on interconnect

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Image by Engdao | Bigstockphoto

DITO Telecommunity on Monday accused Globe Telecom and PLDT/Smart of “abusing” their dominant positions in the market by not fully complying with a legal mandate to interconnect all telco carriers, as the new telco filed a case before the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) on the matter.

All three operators signed an interconnection deal in early 2021, allowing mobile subscribers of one telco carrier to be able to send texts and make calls to users of another telco carrier.

However, in a recent briefing, DITO executives said that Globe and Smart’s alleged non-compliance has made it difficult for DITO subscribers to interconnect with the two telcos. For example, when making calls from DITO to Globe or Smart, only 20% to 30% of the calls went through, while the rest were either blocked or resulted in a busy signal.

PCC to investigate

According to DITO chief technology officer Rodolfo Santiago, the interconnection quality should not have a failure rate of more than 1%, as mandated by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“They’re giants. Our market share for the entire market is at most 5%. There would be no question who is in the dominant position,” DITO chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said.

In response, PLDT/Smart and Globe both said that they have yet to receive a copy of the complaint from DITO. Both telcos told the public that they support “fair” competition in the market.

PCC released a statement saying that it would investigate the complaints filed by DITO. “If given due course, our CEO will proceed to investigate the charges and if it subsequently finds sufficient basis, file with the Commission en banc a Statement of Objections against the allegedly erring entities,” PCC Officer-in-Charge Chairperson Johannes Benjamin Bernabe said. According to him, the PCC is given ten days to make a decision on the complaint.

Globe says DITO won’t pay interconnect penalties

On Tuesday morning, Globe released a request to the NTC, asking the agency to make DITO Telecommunity pay PHP622 million in interconnect penalties.

Globe claims that these penalties are due to fraudulent calls placed through DITO’s network to Globe, bypassing proper voice traffic channels. From July 2021 to July 2022, an average of 1,000 fraudulent calls were allowed to go through per day. According to Globe, the penalties have gone up due to DITO’s refusal to compensate them.

“Clearly, DITO has not only failed to compensate Globe, it also has not taken any serious actions to curtail bypass activities emanating from its network and terminating in Globe’s. Indeed, these bypass activities have not waned but have in fact continuously increased over the said period. DITO’s twin failures to check these bypass activities and pay Globe what it is justly due have worked on a continuing serious prejudice against Globe,” Globe said.

Related story: DITO hits 7 million subscribers almost six months behind projections

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