Mislatel to start accepting subscribers in Metro Manila by September – DICT

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 25) — Residents of Metro Manila and other mega cities may soon have the option to avail of the mobile services of Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. (Mislatel).

Acting Secretary Eliseo Rio Jr. of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said the third telecommunications player is one step away from offering its mobile services to the public.

The DICT will award Mislatel's certificate of public convenience and necessity by July 8 as the telco posts a ₱25.7-billion performance bond. The money will be held as a security deposit of sort that will force Mislatel to deliver its promised Internet speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps).

"They will start in Metro Manila, Cebu, 'yung mga heavily-populated cities. Siguro by September or October of this year, meron na silang mga subscribers from Metro Manila," Rio said during the National ICT Summit on Tuesday.

Ahead of securing the permit, Rio said Mislatel has begun setting up cell sites and other infrastructure for nationwide coverage.

READ: DICT Chief allays fears of potential Chinese espionage as third telco nears rollout

The third major telco player committed to cover 37 percent of subscribers on its first year and will rise to 84 percent in its fifth year. It also promised to put up a thousand cell sites in a year. Mislatel has pledged to spend nearly ₱260 billion for a wider reach, with a promise to raise the average internet speed to 55 Mbps by its fifth year.

The Philippines has an average mobile internet download speed of 7 Mbps and an average upload speed of 2.2 Mbps, international analytics company Opensignal said in a report released in May. The country has the 16th slowest download speed among 87 nations covered by the study, with the global average at 17.6 Mbps.

READ: Mislatel's committed service, coverage 'disappointing' – expert

The consortium led by Presidential ally and businessman Dennis Uy is made up of Mislatel, Udenna Chelsea Logistics, and China Telecom, the latter being a state-owned provider based in Beijing. The group is expected to improve competition as they go against Smart Communications and Globe Telecom, following President Rodrigo Duterte's order to break this duopoly in the telecommunications market. ​

In April, Udenna signed a $5.4-billion investment deal with China Telecom to fund Mislatel's expansion in the Philippines.