Manila, Philippines – Local telco player DITO Telecommunity has named Ernesto “Eric” R. Alberto as its new chief executive officer as the current one Dennis Uy has announced that he is stepping down from said role.

In a recent disclosure by the company, Alberto’s appointment marks his leadership transfer from most recently being the president of DITO CME, the information and communications technology (ICT) sector holding firm of the Udenna Group.

Following this, Donald Patrick Lim–most recently the chief operating officer at DITO CME–has been named the acting president for DITO CME.

“Eric’s wealth of experience in senior capacities in the banking and telecoms sectors spanning several decades, will be very valuable in his new role as DITO Tel CEO. His appointment comes at an opportune time as we continue to maintain the Company on a high-growth trajectory,” Uy said.

The new leadership changes come recently after DITO recently secured a US$3.9b loan to fund the rollout of its network expansion.

“With the recent equity infusions at the DITO CME level and DITO Tel’s signing of the US$3.9 billion longterm project finance facility, we have further confidence in DITO CME and DITO Tel achieving their business plan targets at the soonest possible time,” Uy concluded.

Manila, Philippines – Integrated marketing agency MullenLowe TREYNA has announced adding new business accounts, which comes from its extensive product lineup: integrated creative solutions, strategic narrative, user research and experience, PR, and activation.

Qairos, the company under MullenLowe TREYNA’s operations –made through a joint venture with Quiddity Usability Labs –nabbed the user research, experience design, and development duties on telco DITO Telecommunity; Philip Morris’s local subsidiary PMFTC; Nextbank, a cloud-based banking SaaS provider; and RS2, a global payment platform for credit card clients and merchants.

Denise Haak, CEO of Qairos, said, “Winning our clients’ trust in a competitive environment is crucial. I’m glad even global clients like RS2 can see the value and expertise we bring to the table.”

Meanwhile, parent agency MullenLowe TREYNA won the creative relaunch duties on local financial services M. Lhuillier, and projects with brandy brand Emperador Light and e-sports company Mineski Global. After the success of COMELEC’s ‘Magparehistro Ka’ campaign, Google has also awarded business to the agency without a pitch.

Mike Trillana, chairman and CEO of MullenLowe TREYNA Group, commented, “Getting new clients on board isn’t only about the ideas, it’s about the people you get to work with. We committed to a hybrid setup early in 2022, but we also took steps to ensure that we could sustain the elements of a winning agency culture. This is proof that looking after your people brings in the business, and makes business better for our clients.”

Manila, Philippines – The Philippine telecommunications industry is facing new challenges, as telco giant Globe Telecom and new player DITO have exchanged public statements regarding their business operations and performance.

It first started with DITO, who filed two complaints at the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) against Globe Telecom and Smart Communications for their competitive business behaviour, more specifically during their interconnection agreement.

Said interconnection agreements allow DITO users to send texts and make calls to users of PLDT’s Smart and Globe.

“It has become very difficult for our subscribers to interconnect with Globe and Smart,” said Adel Tamano, chief administrative officer at DITO through CNN Philippines.

Meanwhile, the PCC has acknowledged DITO’s complaints, stating that interconnection is an essential component of the telecommunications industry as it allows interoperability and exchange of calls, SMS, and other information from one network to another.

Johannes R. Bernabe, the OIC chairperson at the Philippine Competition Commission, said, “Our Competition Enforcement Office (CEO) is now evaluating the merits of Dito’s complaints. The Commission has 10 days within which to decide whether or not to give due course to 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.”

In response, Globe Telecom has released a statement, asking the country’s National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to require DITO to pay up to PHP622m in interconnection penalties.

According to Globe’s statement, around 1,000 fraudulent calls– identified as international in origin but masked as local calls– are allowed to pass through DITO’s network to Globe users every day, a clear violation of interconnection deals.

“Clearly, DITO has not only failed to compensate Globe, but it also has not taken any serious actions to curtail bypass activities emanating from its network and terminating in Globe’s. Indeed, these bypass activities have not waned but have in fact continuously increased over the said period. DITO’s twin failures to check these bypass activities and pay Globe what it is justly due have worked on a continuing serious prejudice against Globe,” the telco said.

Globe and DITO have signed an interconnection agreement in February 2021 which covers domestic mobile calls and SMS enabling Globe’s customers to make mobile calls, send SMS with DITO Telecommunity’s customers without additional charges.

Manila, Philippines – As more and more telco users vent out online in regards to issues with their communication providers, the Internet has now become a new hub for telco players to create critical data-driven decisions in improving their services, new report from media intelligence and insights business Isentia.

The report had uncovered customer sentiments on social media and how these experiences from the services provided by Philippine ISPs, fold into every Filipino’s digital consumer journey. 

Isentia noted that netizens frequently take their frustrations to the comments section of Facebook Pages to express opinions and share their user experience. Once posted, these comments, especially those like complaints, can be picked up by other consumers and spread like wildfire. 

Taking for instance telco provider PLDT, when they issued an advisory that its users may experience slow or intermittent internet services and emerged as the top trending topic for that day, generating negative tweets from subscribers. While PLDT responded with a statement justifying the quality of internet services that day, it could not temper further unfavourable discussions surrounding the incident.

Isentia also noted that customers also complain about how telcos like Globe resort to ‘automated replies’ instead of immediate action from the company. Criticisms on how ‘repetitive’ and ‘insulting’ the templated reply saying, ‘We don’t want you to feel that way…’ dominated the discussions.

“Internet access has been and will continue to be a basic necessity in every household. But, from the perspective of many, these internet service providers are struggling to consistently satisfy its customers’ needs. From sluggish connection speed to poor customer service, a lot are voicing out their complaints publicly where everyone can see the quality of service that they provide,” said Francis Calucin, insights analyst at Isentia.

Despite efforts from local telco players to improve their marketing strategies, netizens often have mixed to negative views about them. For instance, many netizens have complained about telco Smart Communications that they don’t need a foreign ambassador or endorser but instead improve first on their telco services, following the telco’s announcement of Hollywood actor Chris Evans as one of its newest endorsers, aside from the rise of Korean drama stars and pop stars as well taking helm as brand ambassadors as well.

Another example is how netizens often have mixed thoughts about service provider CONVERGE’s use of memes, which was met with some harbored unfavourable comments while others see the strategy of injecting memes in its content producing a significant traction for the brand to the delight of other netizens.

Amid the bad light to the local telco players, Filipino netizens are inclined to switch networks, specifically with the new player DITO Telecommunications. Despite early approval of the franchise, the telco isn’t also safe from criticisms, such as complaints on roll-out and delivery of their SIM cards necessary for their services to work. In addition, Isentia also noted that they have recorded claims that certain high-end phones were the only ones compatible with DITO’s mobile data services, as well as fears from the public that the telco is allegedly a medium for China to spy, risking the security and privacy of Filipinos.

“Since the pandemic, telco companies have had to step up their game. In the Philippines, they were directed by the President himself to amp up their services. This study looks into conversations on the top telco industry players and dabbles on one of the newer ones who raked in hundreds of thousands of buzz in a single month. Companies can leverage trendspotting studies like this to harvest and pinpoint relevant insights and themes from organic conversations about their services and industry,” said Victoria Lazo, insights manager at Isentia Philippines.

Isentia recommended in its report that companies need to invest more in improving their messaging by streamlining and personalising conversations and responding to customer issues. This is a source of rabid responses from users that could greatly reflect and affect the image and reputation of a brand. Also, telco companies can migrate discussions to more private avenues – SMS, private messages, and emails – to address their concerns and avoid being bombarded with comments of unfavourable nature.

They also noted that telcos can promote an arena of competitiveness to cause market disruption. Telco companies can explore throwing in deals and freebies to cascade the value for money message, in response to embracing regulation and competition.

In regards to marketing, Isentia recommends that local personas can work better. Brands can tap multiple personalities across their campaigns and do not have to stick to just one throughout an entire period. Messaging and creativity of the promotion are vital points to be considered. The public now craves more organic promotions/marketing efforts over traditional ones, which will help appeal to the younger generations.

“Having a data-driven approach in finding out what competitors or the industry as a whole has been doing will help brands close in performance gaps and identify key areas they can work on to boost their growth. Trendspotting reports such as this aim to encourage brands to look outside of their business and understand the industry better so they can formulate informed strategies and come up with relevant initiatives,” Kate Dudang, insights manager at Isentia Philippines, stated.