MANILA — PLDT Inc. will spend more than PHP150 billion over the next three years to ramp up its deployment of fixed and mobile services in preparation for the entry of a third major player in the local telecommunications industry.
In a statement, the telecommunications giant said this year’s capital expenditure (capex) will exceed PHP50 billion and is expected to stay at that level for the next two years.
This will bring the company’s total capex from 2016 to nearly PHP260 billion or USD5 billion.
This is on top of the nearly PHP175 billion or USD 3.4 billion of capex that PLDT invested in network building from 2011 to 2015.
“What this means is that for every PHP 1 of service revenue, we reinvest between PHP 0.30-0.35 in the business to super-charge our networks and advance our digital transformation program. This is a massive effort to turn our networks into powerful, pervasive and resilient platforms for delivering relevant digital services and solutions that our people can use to improve their daily lives, as well as enable the country to compete and thrive in this digital age,” PLDT Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan said.
“Aside from building vital digital infrastructure, the PLDT Group is doing its share of nation building through the payment of taxes. In 2011-2016, PLDT and its subsidiaries paid a total of P206.9 billion in various forms of taxes,” he added.
PLDT wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications, will be rolling out aggressively more Long Term Evolution (LTE) and 3G base stations to provide high speed mobile broadband to over 90 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities by 2018.
Smart has likewise accelerated its deployment of LTE 4G as it has doubled the number of LTE base stations in 2017 to over 8,700 from the previous year and increased the number of cell sites equipped with LTE base stations by about 60 percent to over 4,300.
To complement its LTE deployment, Smart also added more 3G base stations in 2017, raising the total to about 9,850. It also increased the number of cell sites equipped with 3G base stations to about 7,500.
It will double the number of LTE base stations to about 17,700 and increase the number of LTE-equipped cell sites to over 6,800 for the next 12 to 18 months.
The number of 3G base stations will rise to over 12,400, while the count of cell sites equipped with new 3G base stations will grow to over 8,000. Most of the new 4G and 3G base stations will be using frequencies acquired from San Miguel Corporation.
It will also more than double the number of In-building solution (IBS) installations to over 200 new structures. This roll-out will further increase the number of cell sites equipped with LTE on multiple frequencies, thus enabling Smart to deploy LTE-A with carrier aggregation in more areas of the country.
This will significantly boost Internet speeds enabling the mobile phone customers of Smart, Sun and TNT to enjoy better bandwidth-heavy and low-latency digital services like video and online games.
For its fixed line business, PLDT will double its fiber and hybrid fiber broadband capacity to over 2.2 million ports.
About 650,000 of the additional ports will be for fiber while another 550,000 will be for hybrid fiber broadband.
At the same time, PLDT will further expand its fixed broadband coverage by about 30 percent to 5.1 million homes passed, thus extending its reach to more areas of the country. It is anticipated that within the next five-year cycle of network development (2021-2025), PLDT could have as many as 10 million homes passed with fiber-to-the-home (FTTH).
“The net result is that within the next 12-18 months world-class internet services on PLDT’s super-charged fixed and mobile networks will be available to many more Filipinos in many more parts of the country,” Pangilinan said.