In line with its commitment to fully maximize the use of previously-idle spectrum assets that it recently gained access to, Globe Telecom hit its target of deploying 500 LTE sites using the 700 megahertz band (L700), consistent with efforts to improve mobile internet service in the country. Majority of the company’s L700 sites were deployed mostly in Metro Manila and other highly-populated areas, where majority of customers using LTE-based handsets are located.
Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Governance, Network Technical Group, emphasized the company is well on its way of achieving its target of deploying about 4,500 multiband, multi-mode software-defined radio station equipment to about 95% of cities and municipalities in the country within a 3-year period, as committed to the National Telecommunications Commission. Aside from deploying 500 LTE 700 sites, the company also activated 900 additional LTE sites using the company’s additional spectrum allocation in the 2600 megahertz band.
“With the deployment of 500 LTE 700 sites, Globe is now able to deliver a more comprehensive LTE coverage in Metro Manila, substantially improving the mobile internet experience of our customers in the region,” Agustin said, as he noted burgeoning proliferation of bandwidth-intensive multi-media content. On the other hand, deployment of 900 LTE 2600 sites mostly benefitted customers in Metro Cebu and Metro Davao, he said, emphasizing that the company is also working on further improving indoor signal and capacity in major cities in the country.
Globe began deployment of LTE sites using the 700 MHz band in June this year following a partial acquisition of San Miguel’s telecommunication assets, which also included spectrum resources in the 1800 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2600 MHz. In a bid to harness expeditiously the benefits of the company’s new spectrum assets, Globe set aside in October this year additional network investment of $300 million, bringing the company’s total capital expenditure for 2016 to $1 billion. According to Agustin, Globe plans to deploy more LTE sites in 2017 using the company’s additional spectrum assets to further accelerate its network build and enable the company to stay ahead of growing consumer demands.
The use of both LTE 700 and LTE 2600 bands, along with the company’s additional spectrum resources, supports the capacity enhancement initiative launched by the company early 2016 intended to elevate the state of internet in the country. Globe also launched early this year an initiative of creating an internet superhighway by deploying fiber optic cables in 20,000 barangays all over the country to provide faster and more reliable internet access in about 2 million homes nationwide.
However, the company’s aggressive bid to expand its telecommunication infrastructure is being hampered by circuitous permitting process for the establishment of telecommunication infrastructure such as cell sites. For instance, Globe has a backlog of 3000 sites amid difficulties in securing permits from various local government units, homeowner associations and other government agencies. As a result, the Philippines only has about 21,000 total cell sites compared about 55,000 in Vietnam.