PLDT’s Smart beats its own 5G rollout target

11 Nov 2021

PLDT Inc. mobile division Smart Communications has revealed that its in-deployment 5G network now extends to 6,400 base transceiver stations (BTS), eclipsing its own target of 3,800 for 2021. Taken overall, meanwhile, Smart reported a total of 72,600 BTS on air by end-September, allowing it to provide combined 2G/3G/4G/5G coverage to 96% of the population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi. In 3Q21 the mobile arm switched on sites in several new areas including Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Amadeo in Cavite, Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental and Valencia City in Bukidnon. The rollout is designed to meet demand for mobile data services which has seen 5G mobile data traffic more than doubling in the July-September 2021 period when compared to the previous quarter, and 20 times higher than the figure reported in 4Q20. Supporting Smart’s 5G network, PLDT had deployed 615,000km of fibre-optic infrastructure as of 30 September 2021.

In a disclosure, PLDT and Smart Communications president and CEO Alfredo S Panlilio said: ‘Off the back of the huge number of 5G base stations that we built this year will be a very targeted rollout of 5G in 2022 … We will be more granular next year, doubling down to ensure that our efforts match the demand and the availability of handsets in the market.’