PLDT says investing in enhanced connectivity, 40 pct of sites on 5G by end-2021


Posted at Dec 05 2020 10:44 AM | Updated as of Dec 05 2020 10:45 AM

PLDT says investing in enhanced connectivity, 40 pct of sites on 5G by end-2021 1
PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) further accelerates its nationwide tower rollout. Photo: PLDT Inc/Handout/File

MANILA - PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc have ramped up investments to improve internet connectivity services and customer experience, it said in a joint statement. 

Joachim Horn, PLDT chief technology and information advisor, said they will have "fired up" 726 new towers by end-2020. 

“These sites will help us increase our LTE population coverage to 94-95 percent, cover more municipalities and provide more capacity for dense areas. This goes along with all other expansion efforts done this year," he added, saying the sites will still take months to build. 

Some 4,000 of Smart's base stations have been upgraded to 5G connectivity in some key areas, adding 4,000 more LTE base stations to "support data traffic growth.” 

PLDT, on the other hand, is set to add 1.69 million ports. It has also put in place more than 422,000 kilometers of fiber infrastructure as of November, the company said. 

Both PLDT and Smart have also beefed up customer support services, and have adjusted work processes amid quarantine-related constraints. 

This, they said, was through improving its customer care platforms such as its call center, its apps and portals. 

PLDT also said expansion efforts have also helped amid the demand caused by the pandemic as people remain holed at home for online learning and work. 

"PLDT’s expansion efforts and investments helped the group cope with sustained growth in data traffic when COVID-19 community quarantines commenced in March. PLDT is anticipating capex of at least P70 billion for 2020," it said. 

It has also improved its internet connectivity services in Catanduanes, firing up its fiber optic link as super typhoon Rolly - seen as the most powerful typhoon of 2020 - disrupted communication services in the island. 

It is also trying to improve underground fiber optic cables in Bicol region and Samar - which are both frequented by storms.