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China Telecom’s Philippine venture wants to double subscribers

·2-min read
In this photo illustration a China Telecom logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen with a computer keyword in the background in Athens, Greece on December 30, 2021.  (Photo by Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
In this photo illustration a China Telecom logo seen displayed on a smartphone screen with a computer keyword in the background in Athens, Greece on December 30, 2021. (Photo by Nikolas Kokovlis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

By Ian Sayson and Andreo Calonzo

China Telecommunications Corp.’s Philippine venture may double its subscribers this year to reach a target to secure a third of the nation’s communications market as early as 2024.

Subscribers of DITO Telecommunity Corp., which began operations in March, may climb to about 10 million from 5.3 million at the end of last year as the company expands network coverage, according to majority stakeholder DITO CME Holdings Corp.

The company predicts it can attract customers to its solely 4G and 5G network, and wants to avoid getting into a price war with larger domestic rivals Globe Telecom Inc. and PLDT Inc., DITO CME President Eric Alberto said in an interview.

“Everyone who needs a mobile phone already has one,” Alberto said. “We’re just upgrading to a more sophisticated digital capability.”

The company reaffirmed a goal to reach 30% market share, with Alberto forecasting that could be achieved in 2024 when its network coverage rises to more than 80% of the population from 52.8% last year.

Executives also said:

DITO CME, which is undergoing a stock rights offer, is “down to the final stretch” of securing long-term credit to fund a $5 billion five-year investment commitment to build its network, CFO Joseph John Ong said. The company and China Telecom — which holds 40% of DITO Telecommunity — will guarantee the debt based on their stakes in the unit.

The telecom venture may take three to five years to be profitable, Alberto said. Other units such as marketing firm Global Acuity and analytics solutions provider Unalytics may take less time to make significant earnings contributions compared to rival telecoms’ businesses, he said.

© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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