Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. said Wednesday it will spend an additional $100 million this year to roll out new cell sites using the 700-megahertz spectrum in key cities nationwide.
The amount is on top of PLDT’s approved capital expenditure of P43 billion for 2016 and made available to Smart Communications as a result of the recent acquisition of San Miguel Corp.’s telecom business.
Smart fired up its first batch of three long-term evolution or LTE cell sites using the 700-MHz spectrum and posted peak download speeds of up to 222 megabits per second in one of those sites using LTE-advanced with carrier aggregation.
“That’s only three base stations which are 700-MHz enabled so far. We will build more than 200 in key sites nationwide by yearend,” PLDT chairman and chief executive Manuel Pangilinan said.
The three Smart cell sites with 700 MHz are located in Tanay, Rizal; Matina, Davao City; and Manggahan area in Pasig City, where peak download speeds of 101 Mbps were attained on a single-band, 700-MHz LTE set-up.
Smart combined its 700 MHz and 1800 MHz frequency bands using the carrier aggregation capability of LTE-A, resulting in peak speeds of up to 222 mbps at its Tanay cell site.
Smart said it planned to activate 360 cell sites with 700 MHz this year, initially in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao as a part of a three-year program to bring faster, affordable and reliable internet to users.
Meanwhile, Globe Telecom Inc. senior vice president for program governance, network technical group Joel Agustin said the company planned to roll out 200 sites using 700 Mhz frequency during the initial stage.
“The intention is that the first batch of the 200 sites we plan to roll out will be in areas where connectivity matters most to our customers as well as in locations with high convergence of users like here in the National Capital Region,” Agustin said.
Globe plans to activate all 200 sites progressively, which means that more customers will get to experience the benefits of the 700 MHz. Globe fired up is first cell site that utilizes the 700 megahertz spectrum in UP Diliman, generating speeds that ranged between 60 to 100 Mbps.