PLDT, SMART allot P43B to boost digital services

By Minerva Zamora-Arceo

Telecommunications giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Inc. (PLDT) and Smart Communications allocated P43 billion for capital expenditures to improve data-driven services, offering more efficiency and convenience to customers.

PLDT-SMART also unveiled their new logo that reflects their goal to empower the Filipino people, who are increasingly embracing the smart life and the digital evolution.

Photo by Deng Pangilinan
Photo by Deng Pangilinan

In a vibrant gathering of PLDT’s shareholders at the Makati Shangri-la, PLDT and Smart Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan led the unveiling that signals the powerful convergence of PLDT and Smart in a three-year digital pivot.

“Rather than allow ourselves to be disrupted by new technologies, we are disrupting ourselves. We have embarked on a digital pivot to enable us to serve the increasing needs of our people’s digital lifestyle and the country’s growing digital economy,” Pangilinan said.

PLDT-Smart’s three-year digital turn aims to transform its networks into the country’s most data-capable infrastructure in the midst of the growing demand for digital services.

“We shall lead the digital revolution by embracing the smart life within the organization, pursuing digital innovations and enabling our customers to go digital in their own ways. The biggest winners will be our customers who will have a growing range of choices at their fingertips,” Pangilinan added.

Smart and PLDT Chairman Manny Pangilinan leads the ceremonial toast during the unveiling of the group's new logo at the Makati Shangri-la hotel. Joining him are PLDT-Smart EVP consumer group head Ariel Fermin, SVP and HR Group head Butch Jimenez and EVP Entreprise head Eric Alberto. Photos by Deng Pangilinan.
Smart and PLDT Chairman Manny Pangilinan leads the ceremonial toast during the unveiling of the group’s new logo at the Makati Shangri-la hotel. Joining him are PLDT-Smart EVP consumer group head Ariel Fermin, SVP and HR Group head Butch Jimenez and EVP Entreprise head Eric Alberto. Photos by Deng Pangilinan.

PLDT has also revealed that for this year alone, the Group (PLDT and Smart) has allocated P43 billion for capital expenditures and they are looking forward to infusing $100 million more in capex following the acquisition of the telecoms businesses of San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

Two weeks ago, the SMC finally agreed to sell Vega Telecom Inc. to PLDT and Globe Telecom under an acquisition cost of P69.1 billion. Vega Telecom Inc. is the holding company for publicly traded Liberty Telecoms Holdings Inc., which holds most of the 700MHz spectrum frequency along with High Frequency Telecommunications Inc., Bell Telecommunication Philippines Inc. and Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc.

The acquisition will provide more access to additional frequencies that will help significantly improve Internet speed, quality and coverage while the 700MHz will provide better indoor coverage and enable faster rollout in regional and rural areas, PLDT said.

Smart Communications will start using this year the 700 MHz frequency as part of the accelerated deployment of its LTE (Long-Term Evolution) service, in order to more quickly deliver faster, more reliable and affordable Internet services throughout the country.

“Our strategy has two legs. First is the network. Deploying LTE on 700MHz combines a powerful frequency with the most advanced mobile phone technology,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT and Smart chief technology and information advisor.

“Second are the devices. We have been holding discussions with device manufacturers so that more affordable LTE smartphones and tablets using 700MHz will soon be available in the country. This combination of advanced network and devices will enable us to provide the best digital experience to our customers across the country,” he said.

New logo seeks ‘change’
The new logo symbolizes the powerful convergence of PLDT and Smart, combining fixed and wireless technologies to serve individual and enterprise customers.

The logo is shaped like a triangle with the three sides representing the Group business pillars – exceptional people, meaningful innovations and valuable customers. It is also the symbol for Delta, the fourth letter in the Greek alphabet that stands for “change.”

“Taken together, these three pillars create tremendous energy that will enable our customers to achieve their limitless potential. The triangle’s three sides support each other. Thus, an inherent strength flows harmoniously among the sides to sustain the structures,” Pangilinan said.

The unveiling of the new logo was celebrated in style by a performance from the original Eraserheads that rocked the night, with a toast from the PLDT and SMART executives headed by Pangilinan.

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