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DITO cites deal with US firms amid concerns over China ties

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Dito Telecommunity

DITO Telecommunity Corp. is investing P1 billion in cybersecurity solutions this year to be supplied by 12 technology firms based in the United States, a company official said on Thursday after various groups questioned its ties with a Chinese telecommunications company.

“All come from: Fortinet, NexusGuard, McAfee, Nessus, Veritas, Pentaho Data, IDAM Systems by BeyondTrust, Microsoft, Cisco ISE, Siemplify, ManageEngine, and SolarWinds,” DITO Chief Technology Officer Rodolfo D. Santiago said in an online briefing.

The third telco player made the announcement after some sectors, including lawmakers, raised concerns about its partnership with China Telecom (ChinaTel) and its planned construction of cell sites inside military camps.

Adel A. Tamano, DITO’s chief administrative officer, said the company had so far spent P150 billion this year. He said it expects to spend P27 billion for the next phase of its network rollout next year.

“As of Sept. 13, 2020, DITO now has a total of 859 out of the 1,300 estimated number of towers needed to achieve mandated targets of 37% population coverage and speed of 27mbps by January of 2021,” Mr. Santiago said.

Mr. Tamano assured the public that DITO is ready to commercially launch its services in March next year after the scheduled technical audit in January.

He also reiterated that DITO is 60.8% owned by Filipinos, particularly by Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and Chelsea Logistics and Infrastructure Holdings Corp.

On Sept. 9, DITO said it would not use its devices and infrastructures to obtain classified information from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

“The memorandum of agreement, signed with the AFP, contained the very same provisions signed by the other two telcos with the notable exception that additional provisions were provided pertaining to commitments of DITO to national security. DITO Telecommunity guaranteed that its devices, equipment, and structures shall not be used to obtain classified information from the Armed Forces,” Mr. Tamano said.

He said the company submitted its cybersecurity plan during the bidding process “to prove that our networks and facilities will not compromise national security and shall abide with the National Cybersecurity Plan.”

Mr. Tamano added that the Department of Information and Communication Technology and the national security adviser “accepted” the plan.

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