PLDT, Smart on track to meet data service targets

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PLDT, Inc. and wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. said the group is on track to meet its 2018 targets for the expansion of fixed and wireless networks in the country.

In a statement over the weekend, the telecommunications giant said it has already put up 12,600 Long-Term Evolution (LTE) base stations all over the Philippines and has reached 1.86 million ports for its fiber-power fixed broadband network.

PLDT is targeting to deliver high-speed wireless data services to over 90% of the country, and to increase its fixed broadband network capacity to 2.2 million ports — both by end-2018.

“As of end-June, Smart has installed more than 3,900 LTE base stations, increasing the total count by 45% to over 12,600, and enabling Smart to improve its Long Term Evolution (LTE) coverage, as well as to activate LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), which offers even higher data speeds and capacity,” it said.

It added the same period also saw the company expand to 5.07 million homes the coverage of its fiber-power fixed broadband network, “(boosting) its capacity to 1.86 million ports, nearing its full-year target of 2.2 million ports.”

The company said the roll-out of its fiber optic transmission and distribution network was instrumental in the expansion of its fixed and wireless networks. In the six-month period, PLDT said its fiber footprint has increased to 204,000 kilometers after mounting more than 29,000 kilometers of fiber cable.

“These expansion projects greatly enhance Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity fiber connections for LTE base stations,” it said.

The company noted the continuous expansion of its data business is the main driver of its revenues during the first half of the year, growing 4% to P82.2 billion.

“Moving forward, our task is to accelerate our digital pivot by pursuing whenever possible converged digital initiatives across our business segments — Home, Individual Wireless, and Enterprise,” PLDT Chief Revenue Officer Ernesto R. Alberto said in the statement.

PLDT said P31.5 billion of the company’s P58-billion capex for 2018 is allotted for the wireless network, while P26.5 billion is set for the fixed line network.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez