THE Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) on Tuesday said Globe Telecom, Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. both achieved an overall mobile service restoration of over 70% in areas hit by Typhoon Odette.

“Globe reported that 95% [of] cell sites are operational in Palawan, 60% [are] operational in Visayas, and 64%… in Mindanao. Overall restoration is [at] 73%,” DICT Acting Secretary Emmanuel Rey R. Caintic said in a televised Palace briefing.

“Smart reported that 76% [of] cell sites are operational in Palawan, 78% [are] operational in Visayas, and 60%… in Mindanao. Overall restoration is [at] 71%,” he added.

Meanwhile, DITO Telecommunity Corp. reached “above 75%” restoration in Mindanao.

DITO reached more than 70% restoration in Leyte, Mr. Caintic noted, adding that “overall restoration is above 55%.”

In an e-mailed statement, Globe said it was extending bill rebates and payment due dates for affected Globe At Home and Globe Platinum and Postpaid mobile customers up to Jan. 2, as the company “continues its restoration efforts, especially in the areas hit by Typhoon Odette.”

“This means eligible Globe Platinum and Postpaid mobile customers will receive [text] notifications on prorated rebates, and can pay their bills beyond their due date or before the Jan. 2 extension,” it added. Globe also noted that there would be no payment-related service disconnection during this time.

“Eligible Globe At Home Postpaid customers meanwhile will see the rebate adjustment in their bill.”

In a separate statement, PLDT, Inc. and its wireless arm Smart said they were ramping up repairs in Bohol and Cebu to restore affected services.

“The group has also been focusing efforts on bringing key public facilities across the region back online,” the PLDT group said.

“On Tuesday, PLDT and Smart have reconnected Panglao and Tagbilaran airports in Bohol, as well as the Bacolod-Silay International Airport in Negros Occidental,” the group added.

In Cebu province, PLDT and Smart have partially restored services in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, and Talisay.

“More and more towns have been fully restored in the northwest, northeast, midwest, southeast and southwest portions of Cebu, as well. The group has also reconnected more barangays in the town of Loboc in Bohol,” PLDT and Smart said.

The group has set up free call, charging, and Wi-Fi stations in more than 40 typhoon-damaged areas in Palawan, Visayas, and Mindanao.

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. — Arjay L. Balinbin