Continuing the rollout of its modernized infrastructure and investments on new technologies in important locales around the country, Globe Telecom has reinforced its network strength in Boracay Island through capacity building and pioneering the integration of small cell technologies.
Throughout the world-renowned tourist destination, Globe customers experienced overall better network coverage, better call quality and higher data rates during the LaBoracay summer revelry in the first weekend of May. The telco company fired up additional 3G, LTE, WiFi and the first outdoor small cells in Philippines, which will be further augmented in the coming months.
Moreover, this intensified network performance has prompted the Media Operations Committee (MOC) from the ongoing Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation-National Organizing Council to award all network and WiFi facilities at the International Media Center (IMC) located inside Boracay Ecoville Resort to Globe Telecom.
“Since being fiber-connected in 2012, we have progressively improved our network’s performance in Boracay by optimizing our available spectrum, technology and radio hardware, harnessing maximum allowable capacities. As Globe aims to build the best network in the premier island destination with the full potential of our current spectrum, we enable our customers to live out their Globe-powered digital lifestyle wherever they are in the island,” said Robert Tan, Chief Technical Advisor of Globe.
According to Tan, the current technologies introduced by Globe in Boracay can deploy speeds of at least 5 MBPS, and up to 100 MBPS on WiFi, significantly improving its data speeds from last year. On the other hand, the small cells – mini-base stations using lower transmit power strategically positioned around the island – can support multiple technologies, including 3G and LTE. They have been activated during special events such as the APEC, concerts and fiestas such as the LaBoracay, in cafes and restaurants as well as in commercial areas for Globe customers to enjoy a full digital experience on their phones and devices. No other telco provider has this technology installed on the island as of yet.
Introduced during “LaBoracay,” a huge portion of data traffic in the island was offloaded to small cells, with speeds clocking in at more than 40 MBPS on WiFi and at least 20 MBPS on LTE. On 3G, the volume of voice calls and data usage grew by 104% and 16%, respectively. Meanwhile, the number of users on 3G also increased by 51% and for LTE, 109%. As sampled from two popular bars during peak hours, LTE download speeds were monitored at 12.94 MBPS, while uploading reached 13.58 MBPS.
Tan also noted that with the rapid increase of data demand and to deliver on the telco’s promise of providing its customers their digital lifestyle experience, technologies such as small cells will continually be rolled out in the Globe network. Traditional hardware such as regular macro cells cannot easily deliver the same amount of data capacity in high foot traffic areas.
With pervasive and superior data now blanketing the island, the Globe network in Boracay will further undergo optimization to maximize its new capacities. For better radio resources management, the radio network infrastructure uses Self Organising Network or SON technology to balance traffic distribution across various radio access technologies and undertake automatic neighbor relations adjustment to minimize drop calls, improve call quality and data throughput. SON technology is being deployed nationwide to improve and deliver a consistent customer experience using the advanced mobile network of Globe. In close collaboration with Huawei Technologies, the telco is the first mobile operator to commercially deploy the advanced SingleSON technology.
During its recent financial disclosure, Globe announced that it has spent around P4.9 billion in capital expenditures in Q1 2015 to support its growing customer base and complement its demand for data and content. The company is also expanding its US$500 million LTE network, building a footprint of around 5,000 sites over the next two years, which includes Boracay.