Globe Telecom vice president for consumer business Peter Bithos says the company will launch fourth-generation (4G) mobile services in Cebu before the end of the year, Cebu Daily News reports. Speaking after the group’s annual stockholders meeting, Bithos said: ‘We won’t be telling you something that isn’t true … right now it isn’t 4G. But we expect 4G in the next two quarters of this year’. Ultimately, upgrading the entire national network to 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) is Globe’s main plan, and its president and CEO Ernest Cu is confident this can be achieved without passing on the investment costs to consumers. Cu went on to say that he is confident Globe can maintain its 2011 level of performance despite the recent tie-up of PLDT and Digitel’s Sun Cellular mobile unit which has created an enlarged entity with a roughly 70% share of the domestic market. Globe Telecom is setting aside a USD700 million loan from various lending agencies to improve its infrastructure this year – including the installation of 4G across the country.
In a related development, Globe has also lined up another bond offering this year as it looks to take advantage of the Philippines’ solvent debt market to access cheap money. As such, the group will issue PHP10 billion (USD434.2 million) in retail bonds this June to help bankroll the telco’s USD750 million CAPEX budget for 2012; last year’s investment budget topped USD430 million. The funds will be used for Globe’s five-year, USD790-million network modernisation and IT transformation programme. Roughly four-fifths of the monies will be spent in 2012 and 2013, while the balance will be ploughed in over 2014, 2015 and 2016