Filipino newcomer Dito is the latest business to have its plans derailed by the COVID19 Coronavirus, with the operator delaying its official launch due to issues with importing components.
Dito elected to use network infrastructure from suppliers based in China, but the outbreak has resulted in shipments being held at port in their market of origin. The embargo is part of international efforts to prevent the spread of the disease, which has thus far resulted in 3000 deaths worldwide, with 80,000 infected.
The operator’s chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said: “We don’t want to use that as an excuse, but being very honest our job is getting a little bit harder because of [coronavirus]. We’re finding a solution.”
The Philippines’ mobile market has long been a duopoly between PLDT’s Smart Communications and Globe Telecoms, and the creation of a new operator has long been advocated by the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte.
Formerly known as the Mislatel consortium, Dito – which is 40% owned by China Telecom – was awarded an operating licence in 2018 but has since delayed its official launch. Originally scheduled for July 2020, it is now planning to begin offering services in March 2021 – although the operator has noted that its technical launch should be met by the original July date.