PLDT gives DITO more time to settle P430-million obligation


THE PLDT group said it is giving DITO Telecommunity Corp. more time to settle its unpaid contractual obligation of P430 million.

“We’re being as patient as we can. We just want to make sure that it’s done properly. We’re still claiming what they owe us,” PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Alfredo S. Panlilio told reporters on Tuesday.

“We’re giving them more time, and I think our teams continue to work with them to see what’s the best settlement,” he added.

In October, PLDT warned that “in case DITO does not remedy its material breach by Nov. 4,” it might look into “legal options, including suspension or termination of services.”

Listed DITO CME Holdings Corp. has said its telecommunications subsidiary DITO Telecommunity would “thresh out and exhaust all available remedies.”

“DITO Telecommunity believes that there is no material breach,” DITO CME said in a recent statement.

On Oct. 7, the Pangilinan-led PLDT said it had served DITO with a notice of material breach and demand for payment “as a result of its refusal to pay the amount of P429.73 million for contracted services which PLDT has fully performed and delivered, relating to the building and provisioning of transmission facilities that DITO required and is using for the delivery of telecommunication services.”

For its part, DITO said it was “compelled to enter into an agreement” with PLDT for the provisioning of the transmission facilities to allow DITO to interconnect with the subscribers of PLDT’s Smart Communications, Inc. “for the purpose of supporting the parties’ obligations under their interconnection agreement.”

The third telco player said Smart’s refusal to augment DITO’s capacity to interconnect with the latter’s subscribers “has to no small degree compromised DITO-Smart voice traffic, adding to the underutilization of the initial bandwidth capacity provided by Smart to DITO.”

“DITO, in a series of letters to PLDT and prior to the delivery of the subject transmission facilities, informed the latter that the same are no longer needed,” it added.

According to PLDT, its demand has nothing to do with the interconnection capacity issue.

“PLDT understands that [Smart Communications] is unable to give DITO any additional bandwidth until DITO agrees to compensate Smart for illegal overseas call traffic that is coming from DITO and which defrauds Smart and the government of legitimate income,” PLDT said in a separate statement.

“This has nothing to do with DITO’s refusal to pay an overdue obligation to PLDT for transmission facilities that DITO has asked PLDT to build and which DITO has leased from PLDT and which, to repeat, DITO continues to use,” it added.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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