LOOK: DITO Accuses These Brands of Abusing Their Dominant Positions

Duopoly challenger DITO Telecommunity filed a case against Globe and Smart based on alleged anti-competitive practices in their deals.

Top-of-mind choices when you think of telecommunication companies include Globe Telecom and PLDT subsidiary Smart Communications—given that Sun Cellular merged with the latter. However, new player DITO Telecommunity challenged the duopoly by filing a case before the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) last Monday.

On what grounds? Anti-competitive practices in their interconnection deals.

Technical Difficulties

According to executives from DITO in a briefing, Globe Telecom and Smart were, in their words, “not very compliant” with the legal mandate of interconnecting with all telco carriers in the market. “It has become very difficult for our subscribers to interconnect with Globe and Smart,” DITO Chief Administrative Officer Adel Tamano said.

A month after its commercial launch in March 2021, DITO completed the interconnection of its network with the two industry giants, which should allow DITO’s mobile subscribers to call and text both Smart and Globe users. However, DITO Chief Technology Officer Rodolfo Santiago said that out of 100 calls from DITO to Globe and Smart, only 20 to 30 could get through.

In fact, Santiago added that the National Telecommunications Commission requires an interconnection quality with a failure rate of “1% or lower,” which the test did not meet. Meanwhile, PCC confirmed that it received two separate complaints—both of which were filed by DITO.

PCC Officer-in-Charge Chairperson Johannes Benjamin Bernabe said that the antitrust body has 10 days to decide on the complaint. “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,” he said.

Connect or Disconnect?

The DITO CFO said that both telcos practice this to abuse their dominance in the market and hinder its growth. “They’re giants. Our market share for the entire market is at most five percent. There would be no question who is in the dominant position,” Tamano said.

He further added that DITO’s market share would be “much, much higher if interconnections were better.”

In response to DITO’s move, both Globe and Smart said they haven’t received a copy of the complaint. However, they expressed their support for “fair competition in the market.”

“We can assure the government and the public that PLDT and Smart have always supported and ensured fair competition in the telco industry,” a representative from Smart said in a statement.

“Globe reiterates that it has always advocated for fair business practices and competing on a level playing field,” the other brand expressed.

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