DITO TELECOMMUNICATION site in San Francisco Del Monte in Quezon City, Feb 26. — PHILSTAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

DITO TELECOMMUNITY Corp. is planning to install 880 cellular towers across Mindanao, including 237 in Davao City, hometown of its owner Dennis A. Uy.

The company’s chief technology officer, Rodolfo D. Santiago, said they are aiming to have these infrastructure in place in time for their March 2021 commercial launch.

At least 79 in Davao City “are already fully mobilized,” Mr. Santiago, a retired military general, said in an e-mail interview.

DITO has tapped four companies to assist and speed up site acquisition activities.

“DITO has appointed four duly authorized representatives (vendors) to assist in site acquisition, namely: Huawei for North Luzon and the National capital Region, ZTE for South Luzon and the Visayas, Nokia-Huaxin for Mindanao, and Udenna Infrastructure,” he said.

Mr. Santiago explained that the agents of these vendors have been provided with identification cards and authorization letters to initiate a contract with property owners, including presentation of rental rates and conditions.

The government recently issued new guidelines streamlining the requirements for constructing cellular towers after President Rodrigo R. Duterte ordered to fast-track the expansion of the country’s telecommunication network.

Mr. Duterte initially threatened telecommunication companies of closure or expropriation, but officials of the two major providers — Globe Telecom, Inc. and PLDT Inc. — explained to the President that extensive permit processing is one of the main hurdles to expansion.

The guidelines also cover the construction of new common towers, or those that will be shared by telecommunication companies.

DITO, formerly known as Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. or Mislatel, is the third major provider in the country.

It is 60.8% owned by Mr. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp., and the rest by China Telecom. — Maya M. Padillo