PLDT Inc. cellular arm Smart Communications aims to upgrade ‘40% of its sites’ to 5G technology by end-2021, the company said in a press release at the weekend. Under the plan, the mobile operator will upgrade no fewer than 4,000 base transceiver stations (BTS) to the advanced platform next year, while also deploying an additional 4,000 4G LTE BTS countrywide.
Earlier this month, CommsUpdate reported PLDT as saying that by November 2020 it had increased the number of 3G and 4G BTS ‘on air’ by 20,000 to more than 58,000, while also rolling out a further 313 5G BTS as it looks to accelerate plans to deploy the new technology on a commercial basis nationwide. In addition, it pointed out securing over 1,600 permits to build more cell sites since August when the Anti-Red Tape Authority ordered that telco tower permits be ‘expedited’. Furthermore, the group’s fibre infrastructure supporting its multi-generation mobile networks reached 422,000km at the same date. Smart has also constructed over 700 new mobile towers since the start of the year and aims to hit 726 by end-2020, increasing LTE coverage to 94%-95% of the population and improving capacity/densification in high-population centres.