Smart says PCC complaint 'baseless'; DITO claps back

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 9) — Smart Communications slammed DITO Telecommunity for filing a "baseless" interconnection complaint, when it should have "acknowledged" instead the role of PLDT, Smart’s parent company, in building the newcomer’s network — a claim that has been debunked by DITO.

The wireless arm of PLDT issued a statement late Tuesday, reacting to DITO's decision to file a case against Smart and Globe Telecom with the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC).

On Monday, the new entrant accused the two telco giants of "abusing" their dominant position in the industry. DITO said its subscribers have been having a hard time making calls to users of Smart and Globe.

Atty. Roy Ibay, Smart vice president for Regulatory Affairs, said that the group is "not engaged" in anti-competitive practices against DITO.

"It should have instead acknowledged that PLDT, Smart’s parent company, was instrumental in helping DITO fulfill its commitments to the NTC and Congress as a third telco, considering that PLDT built for DITO a big portion of its telco infrastructure," Ibay said.

DITO, meanwhile, was quick to discredit the statement.

"This was paid for by DITO," its chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said, stressing that the establishment of the telco’s infrastructure was not given for free.

"And the building of that infrastructure was done in compliance with the legal mandate for interconnection and not to help DITO fulfill its commitments to the NTC and Congress," Tamano added.

Smart's statement also mirrored that of Globe, floating the same issue on supposed fraudulent international calls from DITO masked as local calls, leading to "huge monetary losses" for the telcos.

READ: Globe to NTC: Require DITO to pay ₱622 million interconnection penalties

"It is a disturbing development that while Smart continues to interconnect with DITO despite these outstanding issues and while we were still negotiating with DITO on a bypass agreement, DITO now attempts to avoid liability for these fraudulent international calls by filing a baseless complaint with the PCC accusing Smart of anti-competitive behavior," Ibay said.

Tamano reiterated that the fraudulent calls were made by "third parties," making DITO a "victim" as well. He added that the telco has been deploying measures to minimize international simple resale (ISR) calls.