Philippine operator PLDT Inc. says that in the first six months of this year, its mobile arm Smart Communications (including Sun Cellular) deployed an additional 3,900 new LTE base stations, boosting the total number of BTS on-air by 45% to 12,600. Further, the company says it has bolstered its LTE-A network, by installing new sites in Batanes, Sagada and Cagayan, as well as in Palawan, Sorsogon, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Davao and Sarangani. In a statement, PLDT said: ‘With this rollout, Smart is on track to fulfil its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to provide high speed wireless data services in over 90% of the country’s cities and municipalities by the end of 2018’.
Turning to its fixed line operations, PLDT noted that work to expand broadband coverage took the number of homes passed to 5.07 million at end-June 2018 with capacity at 1.86 million ports (it has a full-year 2018 target of 2.2 million ports). Between January-June 2018, PLDT increased its fibre footprint to 204,000km, rolling out over 29,000km of new cable in the period under review which it notes will ‘greatly enhance Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity fibre connections for LTE base stations’. In addition, PLDT is rolling out fibre in more urban areas – dubbed ‘Smart cities’ – starting in Toledo, Cebu, but now augmented by General Santos City in Mindanao, Naga in the Bicol Region, and South Metro Manila (incl. Parananque and Las Pinas), and East Metro Manila (incl. Pasig and Antipolo). The telco has also deployed fibre in business districts such as Rockwell Makati and Bonifacio Global City, while extending its FTTH footprint to the tourist town of El Nido in Palawan, with plans to expand to other municipalities in the short term.