The Philippines’ largest mobile operator in terms of subscribers, Smart Communications, is setting aside CAPEX of PHP9.57 billion (USD199.9 million) to improve telecoms access in underdeveloped parts of the country. The cellco is looking to deploy and maintain a nationwide data communications network and to that end has filed an application with the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). The move follows a similar initiative by sister company Piltel which is looking to invest PHP7.57 billion over a five-year period to roll out networks capable of delivering voice, internet and multimedia content via wireless broadband technology in the targeted rural areas. Smart is understood to be spending PHP4.1 billion in year one; PHP1.8 billion in the second year; and PHP1.2 billion in each of the three remaining years of the project. It is looking to acquire PHP3.68 billion worth of customer premises equipment (CPE), as well as buying a mobile service switching centre (PHP2 billion) and PHP1.8 billion worth of base transceiver stations. Other project costs include transmission equipment for PHP1.2 billion and capitalised installation costs for PHP815 million. The company also expects to sign up 266,786 subscribers in year one, rising to 679,594 users by year five. The average revenue per user is forecast at PHP700 to PHP800 per annum.