Philippines’ Third Operator Fights Odds to Expand Share

Telecom operator DITO, which has been brought in by Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to challenge the duopoly of Globe Telecom and Smart Communications, claims to have covered 158 cities and municipalities in the country so far. The Philippines has 146 cities and 1,488 municipalities. Globe and Smart cover 95% and 93% of the country’s cities and municipalities, respectively. Considering that DITO, which is a joint venture between Udenna Group and China Telecom, saw its commercial launch in March this year with 15 pilot areas, its expansion can be termed as aggressive. In May this year, Duterte signed a law renewing DITO’s license,  for another 25 years from its expiry on April 24, 2023.

Mobile Subscribers Share in Philippines, Jun 2021

Counterpoint Research Mobile Subscribers Share in Philippines Jun 2021, DITO

With continuous lockdowns in multiple places, including the world’s longest lockdown, DITO is facing serious challenges in setting up its infrastructure. China Telecom has transferred some of its experienced manpower from China to help expand DITO’s network, while the local Udenna Group is helping with the funding besides guiding the China team.

DITO’s prepaid offers

After analyzing the market, DITO has launched attractive packages for consumers. To welcome new users, the operator is extending its P199 (roughly $4) prepaid offer until the end of September. The offer comes with 25GB of data, unlimited texts, 300 minutes of calls to other networks and unlimited DITO-to-DITO calls for 30 days. There is also a P99 ($2) offer that comes with 10GB of data for 30 days, unlimited DITO-to-DITO calls, 300 minutes of calls to other networks and unlimited SMS to all numbers.

Consumers who already have a DITO SIM card can subscribe to these plans using the DITO app. If the consumers don’t have a SIM card yet, they can buy it from the company’s e-shop or the official stores on Lazada and Shopee. With P199, the consumer can get 6GB with no expiry date when buying it via the Smart App portal.


DITO has a long way to go to close the gap with established rivals Globe Telecom and Smart Communications. However, it can be a disruptive competitor in the current market. Duterte too is keen to project DITO as one of his big achievements during the coming elections.

Around 30% of the mobile phone users in the Philippines are still on the 2G/3G network. Compared to Globe and Smart, DITO is starting with a 4G/5G network, which can prove to be an advantage in attracting 2G/3G users when combined with attractive offers.

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Ivan is a Senior Research Analyst at Counterpoint Research, based in Hong Kong. Ivan has more than 10 years of experience with a major focus on mobile and network devices. He had spent years in southeast Asia markets associated with business development, brand management, and channel management. Besides the expertise in Southeast Asia, he’s also well connected with ODM and OEM sectors. Prior to joining Counterpoint Research, Ivan served TCL Communications, KaiOS Technology Inc., Wiko Mobile, mainly leading business development, Go-to-Market, and strategic planning. Ivan holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

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