Filipino operator Globe Telecom has released a statement (10 July) outlining that in the third quarter of this year it aims to build new cell sites across the country, targeting a number of large cities and rural areas in its latest mobile network expansion. It is understood that the areas covered under the programme include Aklan, Albay, Batangas, Bohol, Bulacan, Cebu, Davao del Sur, Iloilo, Laguna, Metro Manila, Maguindanao, Negros Occidental, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Zamboanga, Sulu, Capiz, Nueva Ecija and Nueva Vizcaya. Meanwhile, The Philippine Inquirer notes that also part of the expansion are Tarlac, Palawan, North Cotabato, Leyte, Bukidnon, Benguet and Zambales.
Commenting on the development, Globe senior vice president for programme development-network technical group, Joel Agustin, said: ‘We heed the call of our customers for more connectivity, that’s why we continue to expand our coverage and capacity even during a pandemic,’ adding that on completion its efforts will help improve the end user’s ‘overall network experience’ in the areas involved.
Globe’s expansion drive comes amid a surge in demand for data from users due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic’s local lockdown measures. It also coincides with the Filipino government’s drive to reduce red tape and speed up the rollout of new cell sites by easing bottlenecks at the local government level. Currently, ‘dozens of permits’ are required to build a single site which can mean it takes up to eight months to finish a new site. Here, the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) has reportedly announced plans to remove ‘redundant or duplicitous permitting’ to help speed up and streamline the application process. The DICT has also issued new guidelines for tower sharing as part of a nationwide drive to boost uptake.