Smart Communications, Inc. has tapped Cignal TV, Inc. to provide satellite broadband services for areas without land-based networks.

The wireless communications firm will be using Cignal’s very small aperture terminal (VSAT) technology to offer broadband services for subscribers in areas with low to no data coverage, Cignal said in a press release on Saturday.

Smart’s VSAT services are active across the Philippines, Cignal said, including Batanes and some areas in Palawan and Tawi-Tawi.

“This partnership is aligned with our mission to address the national clamor for better broadband connectivity and giving access to quality (and uninterrupted) entertainment to the nation,” Cignal President and Chief Executive Officer Robert P. Galang said.

Smart and Cignal also partnered in November to power 10 cell sites for broadband connection in Catanduanes after it was hit by Typhoon Rolly.

Smart, the wireless arm of PLDT, Inc., has said that it would upgrade 40% of its sites to fifth generation (5G) by the end of 2021, noting that it would upgrade 4,000 base stations to 5G and deploying additional LTE base stations nationwide.

PLDT booked a net income of P19.69 billion as of September this year, up 23% from the same period last year. Revenues also grew 7% to P133.22 billion.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Jenina P. Ibañez