Sun Cellular, the mobile arm of Digitel Telecommunications Inc (Digitel) closed out 2005 with more than two million subscribers, up from 1.88 million in August, but fell well short of its target of signing up 2.5 million users by that date. The company blamed the failure on intense competition, but said its efforts to complete its network expansion through a USD200 million investment would allow it to serve ten million subscribers, compared to last year’s capacity of six million. Most of the money will be used to roll out additional cell sites for its Sun Cellular brand, which currently has the smallest network coverage among the country’s major wireless networks. The cellco is targeting completion of 2,000 cell sites by the end of 2006 to support the projected surge of subscribers.
Sun Cellular was the last of three players to enter the Philippines’ increasingly saturated mobile phone market and, unlike its rivals Smart and Globe Telecom, has yet to start building its 3G network. A spokesman for Digitel confirmed that the company was still in the process of selecting a vendor for the rollout. It has so far hired several ‘technical partners’ to help with its expansion plan including Hewlett Packard, Logica-CMG Worldwide and ShlumbergerSema. Its existing 2G network was built by Alcatel (Luzon sites), Ericsson (Visayas and Mindanao sites) and Huawei (National Capital Region sites).