Globe and MMDA team up to boost metro network coverage

Philippines operator Globe Telecom and the traffic authority Metropolitan Development Authority (MMDA) have signed a deal to enhance network coverage in Metro Manila.

After last week’s promise, which saw Globe promise that it plans to cover 95% of the Philippines with mobile broadband by the end of 2018, this partnership seeks to upgrade mobile coverage, network capacities, and speed up the process of deploying wireless infrastructure in MMDA-controlled areas.

“The permitting process for the deployment of wireless infrastructure has been a major challenge for telecommunication operators like Globe and the MMDA’s decision to support our efforts in providing better mobile coverage for our customers is a ground-breaking development that will lend valuable support for our endeavour of ushering the Philippines to become a digital nation,” said Ernest Cu, president and CEO of Globe Telecom, at the signing ceremony this week at the MMDA headquarters.

Globe Telecom will provide connectivity support and video monitoring equipment in flood control facilities to enhance the MMDA public safety programme.

The Ayala-backed operator aims to fast-track the deployment of 1800MHz and 2600MHz frequencies and the 700MHz spectrum, which is a particular focus for PLDT post its co-acquisition of San Miguel Corp’s telecom business, to provide adequate capacity to handle massive mobile traffic volumes.

Globe and PLDT took over Vega Telecom in a deal worth $1.5 billion in May, which saw the operators also take over most of its 700MHz spectrum, with the government taking the remaining spectrum. At the time, Fitch Ratings said it expected the two operators to "invest aggressively to expand their data services, now that they will have access to the coveted 700MHz spectrum".

“The 700MHz band is the ideal spectrum for LTE deployment due to its longer reach and better indoor penetration qualities,” Joel Agustin, Globe’s senior VP for programme governance, network technical group, has stated earlier this year.

Fitch Ratings expects PLDT to invest $1 billion and Globe $850 million in capital expenditure "which are the highest amounts in the last five years for both companies". Earlier in the year, Globe had stated that it had set aside capital expenditure of $750 million for 2016, the bulk of which will be used to boost data capacity and expand network reach for both mobile and wire lines using technologies including 3G, LTE and Wifi.

Globe Telecom has a customer base of around 2.4 million and its data traffic surged by 35% from 112 petabytes to 151 petabytes during the first half of 2016.

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