Globe raps rivals for bad press

By Lenie Lectura, BusinessMirror

Posted at Aug 24 2012 10:00 AM | Updated as of Aug 25 2012 01:27 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Globe Telecom Inc. on Thursday blamed competition for the bad publicity it has been receiving amid efforts to modernize its old network.

“That congestion was always there…. It was only heightened because of the communication plan of our competitor to heighten it. It’s always been there,” said Globe President Ernest Cu when asked about the flak it has been getting from Metro Manila-based subscribers who claimed they often experienced dropped calls, difficulty in sending text messages and making calls, among other things.

Globe officials, headed by Cu, Chief Financial Officer Albert de Larrazabal and Consumer Business head Peter Bithos, recognized that the cellular firm’s network is currently congested. This is simply because the old network could no longer handle the growth in voice, SMS (short message) and data traffic, they said.

“The old network is congested because of the technology inherent in it and it was due for an upgrade. It’s very old,” Cu said.

De Larrazabal said the network’s ongoing modernization program, which has already reached the metropolis, was not to be blamed for the network congestion. “Modernization is meant to address this congestion. The reason it is congested now is that the capacity currently installed simply could not handle the volume of traffic going through. The glitches are caused by the growth in usage and there’s not enough capacity to handle,” he said.

Globe assured subscribers in Metro Manila, particularly in Quezon City, Pasig City, Makati City, Rizal province, Camanava (Caloocan-Malabon-Navotas-Valenzuela), Muntinlupa City and Laguna there will be a reduction in dropped calls, improvement in clarity and speed connection, among other things.

“We are approaching a 70-percent completion in Metro Manila,” said Cu, who added that by the end of the year, the percentage completion of ongoing network modernization program could settle at over 75 percent.

Larrazabal said subscribers could still experience congestion while the upgrade is still ongoing.?

Globe is spending $700 million to modernize its network. It has finished the network modernization program in Cebu and Davao.

Cu said the reason Globe started to work on modernizing the networks in Cebu and Davao ahead of Metro Manila is because “it was prudent to start in smaller areas before we take it to the high-traffic area.”

“Now that we’ve had a few months of basic training, we are now more confident of doing it more quicker in Metro Manila. We want to make sure that we won’t make any mistakes down the road, that’s why we had to take the lower risk approach. In other words, practice first,” explained Cu.

Meanwhile, Bithos announced that Globe is set to commercially launch its fourth-generation Long-Term Evolution (4G LTE) network for broadband and mobile-telephony use next month.

Commencing in September, Globe will launch its 4G LTE service through Tattoo. It will also offer 4G LTE to mobile customers by the fourth quarter of 2012.

“By September of this year, it’s all systems go to launch the 4G LTE network of Globe. On top of just offering the fastest speeds on the country’s best broadband service, Tattoo, Globe will offer 4G LTE on a full range of mobile phones by the fourth quarter of the year,” said Bithos. “Globe has been the industry leader in 4G for years. Globe was the first to introduce 4G WiMAX and 4G HSPA+. Now, we are the first carrier to announce mobile 4G LTE, which provides superior speeds on the world’s best mobile phones and gadgets.”

This key network launch of Globe leverages its comprehensive nationwide modernization efforts with an additional 12,000 kilometers of fiber- optic cable being rolled out to enable 4G LTE activation for the majority of its cell sites. This will allow for the deployment of super-fast data speeds.

The 4G LTE launch of Globe will focus on providing large contiguous areas of coverage, rather than just “hot spots.” Key commercial as well as residential areas in Makati City will be first to enjoy Globe 4G LTE service.

Bithos added, “Today, Globe already has the largest 4G network in the country with over 2,700 4G base stations through its leading WiMAX and HSPA + services. Now with 4G LTE, it will extend its lead as the country’s best wireless broadband network. Through our network transformation, we are focused on improving the experience of our customers—faster, more reliable and better quality.”