Philippines communications service provider Globe Telecom now plans to spend up to PHP37.5 billion (USD756.45 million) on expansion projects this year, more than originally forecast, the majority of which will be used to improve its data infrastructure networks. The firm’s chief financial officer Rizza Maniego-Eala confirmed that some PHP10 billion in capital expenditure has already been raised, with the operator mindful of the need to meet rising demand for data from users. Following the firm’s annual stockholders’ meeting yesterday (18 April), the CFO noted: ‘The bulk of our capital expenditure this year at 80% will really be for data-driven spending. Of that 80%, 65% will be for data networks while the balance will be for the core.’ Having already begun the fast tracking of LTE services at 700MHz and 2600MHz – using frequencies obtained from San Miguel Corp – the operator’s chairman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala told journalists that the company has already deployed 500 4G LTE sites using the 700MHz band in Metro Manila and other highly populated areas and activated over 1,200 additional LTE sites using the 2600MHz band for customers in Metro Cebu and Davao. The firm is targeting putting up 1,200 LTE-700 sites this year, mainly in Metro Manila, toward the goal of having 4,500 such sites in three years. Globe is also aiming to bring broadband service to two million homes in 20,000 barangays (the country’s smallest administrative districts) by 2022.