Exec: More projects for Cebu

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva November 30,2017 - 12:47 AM


Telecommunications provider Globe is poised to continue spending for network improvement projects all over the country next year, with Cebu getting a substantial share of its capital expenditure.

Ernest Cu, Globe president and chief executive officer, said the network improvements happen all over the country but Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao benefit from a huge chunk of the investments.

“We spent around $1 billion in 2016. We will continue to spend that magnitude (this year and for 2018),”

Cu said during the launching of the GCash scan-to-pay feature in Cebu City on Tuesday.

Cebu’s position in Globe’s list of priorities is given because of its status as the “Queen City of the South” as well as the second largest metropolitan next to Manila.

The telco said earlier this year that it was tapping bank finance to fund this year’s capital spending program, most of which will be used for internet service-related initiatives.

Globe said in a stock exchange filing last August that it had signed a $155-million seven-year and 10-year term loan facility with Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.

As noted, the loan would help pay for the expansion of the company’s data infrastructure rollout.

This represents a big slice of the full-year budget of $750 million. Globe had said it was looking at the “possibility” of increasing its spending this year by another $50 million to $100 million.

In April 2016, Globe began expanding its network coverage and capacity in Cebu province across all technologies, including 3G and LTE.

The company’s capacity enhancement initiative involves deployment of the dual-beam antenna solutions, ideal in densely populated areas such as Cebu, to deliver enhanced capacity and coverage, significantly improving user experience.

The solution, which would increase existing capacity by as much as 70 percent, would be deployed in a significant number of sites within the province, Globe said.

In addition to these upgrades, the telco also intends to build new sites within the province as part of its continuing coverage and capacity expansion.

Cu said that contrary to “popular belief,” mobile coverage in the Philippines is not bad.

“We’re not inept business people that would launch services like this when the network’s not ready,” he said, referring to GCash’s newest feature.

More than 50 merchants inside Ayala Center Cebu can now use the GCash App scan-to-pay feature, with around 100 stores expected to embrace cashless transactions before the year ends.

This cashless payment option allows shoppers to transact easier and faster, giving them the power to shop and dine armed with only the app on their phones and without the need for cash.

Some of the establishments now accepting GCash are Abaca Baking Company, Bo’s Coffee, Casa Verde, Chika-an, and Rose Pharmacy, among others.

GCash is operated by Mynt, a financial technology company jointly owned by Globe, the Ayala Corporation and Chinese entrepreneur Jack Ma’s Ant Financial.

Cu said Ant Financial would not have invested in this initiative if it did not see the network was adequate.
“There are some parts which we cannot reach because it isn’t economical but we are asking government to help us build there and we hope they will,” he said.

Amid talks on the entry of a Chinese player to break the telco duopoly in the Philippines, Cu said they would just have to operate like it’s “business as usual.”

“We will continue to do our work, improve infrastructure, and invest. It’s not for Globe to say come in or not. We are just an industry participant,” he said.

Cu added that Globe has been successful in what it has been doing over the years and intends to keep it that way.

The executive claimed that the telco now has a 54.8 percent revenue market share, which he said is a reflection of the company’s growth.

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TAGS: Globe, telco, Telecom
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