Telcos trumpet wins ahead of critical Malacañang finish line

By: Miguel Camus - Philippine Daily Inquirer | December 07,2020 - 09:09 AM

Industry giants PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom announced details on their aggressive network upgrades for this year until 2021, while telco startup Dito Telecommunity began “friendly user tests” of its services.

The flurry of updates came ahead of a progress report the telcos are expected to provide to Malacañang on Dec. 8.

It follows President Duterte’s vague threat during his State of the Nation Address on July that their service quality must improve by the end of the year or the government will seize their assets.

In separate statements, the telcos pointed to the expansion of their fixed-line and mobile networks with the support of the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act and a joint memorandum issued by government bodies to cut the longstanding problem of red tape in securing permits.

Third-party studies also showed faster internet speeds in the country compared to previous years.

PLDT said its entire mobile network covered up to 96 percent of the Philippines while LTE/4G coverage alone would rise to 95 percent of the population.

The company now has 10,000 cell sites across the country, including over 700 new towers this year, and a fiber network spanning 422,000 kilometers as of November.

Smart has also built nearly 500 5G sites, paving the way for the next-generation mobile standard.

Joachim Horn, PLDT chief technology and information advisor, said some 40 percent of its sites would be 5G-ready by 2021.

Globe Telecom said new permits also allowed it to build 1,050 new sites and to complete 10,874 upgrades for its LTE service. Globe plans to finish 1,300 new sites this year.

The expansion included areas such as Lanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Antique, Iloilo, Leyte, Palawan, Aklan, Maguindanao, Cotabato, Misamis Oriental and Davao del Oro.

Globe will also lay down 600,000 broadband lines by the end of 2020—higher by 55 percent from last year.

The company added its 5G network would cover 80 percent of Metro Manila by the end of 2020.

“We are optimistic that the country’s state of connectivity is well on its way to be on a par with our Asian neighbors,” Ernest Cu, Globe president and CEO, said in a statement.

For 2021, both PLDT and Globe announced they would each build 2,000 new cell sites. Expansion was typically limited to hundreds of new sites per year before regulatory bottlenecks were eased.

Dito Telecommunity has also completed more extensive tests on its network.

“We wish to confirm that we have now in fact expanded our friendly user test for our employees and selected partners only for the first wave,” Dito chief administrative officer Adel Tamano said in a statement.

He said the user tests were running in select areas of Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao. INQ

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TAGS: 4Gcoverage, Dito Telecommunity, Globe, PLDT, Telcos, trumpet win ahead of Malacañang finish line

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