PLDT, Smart secure record permits in 3Q

PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications Inc (Smart) have secured around 600 more permits in the third quarter, helping accelerate the telco’s goal to improve customer experience.

This latest development brings to more than 1,200 the total number of permits that have been issued to the Philippines’ largest and only integrated telco since the Anti-Red Tape Authority issued its Joint Memorandum Circular in August. 

These new permits cover towers to be built in Metro Manila and Rizal, the Luzon provinces of Abra, Albay, Aurora, Batangas, Benguet, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Laguna, Masbate, Mountain Province, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Sorsogon, Tarlac, and Zambales; Visayas provinces of Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Northern Samar and  Southern Leyte; and Mindanao provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Cotabato (North Cotabato), Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Lanao Del Norte Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Misamis Oriental, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Norte. 

Standing to benefit from these additional tower permits are customers across Metro Manila cities of Mandaluyong, Las Pinas, Manila, Muntinlupa, Malabon, Valenzuela, Makati, Paranaque, San Juan, Pasig, Taguig and Quezon City; Antipolo and Rodriguez in Rizal; Puerto Princesa City, Coron, Busuanga, Linapacan, San Vicente and El Nido in Palawan; 

Northern, Central and Southern Luzon cities of Baguio and La Trinidad in Benguet, Lingayen, San Carlos and Dagupan in Pangasinan, Tuguegarao in Cagayan, Cauayan, Ilagan and Santiago in Isabela, Meycauayan and Malolos in Bulacan, Angeles, Mabalacat and San Fernando in Pampanga, Cabanatuan in Nueva Ecija, City of Olongapo in Zambales, Bacoor and General Trias in Cavite, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and Binan in Laguna, Tayabas and Lucena in Quezon, Batangas City, Tanauan and Lipa in Batangas, City of Naga in Camarines Sur, and Masbate City; 

Visayas cities of Tacloban in Leyte, Maasin in Southern Leyte, Tagbilaran and Panglao in Bohol, Malay in Aklan, San Jose in Antique, Lapu-Lapu in Cebu; and Mindanao cities of Davao City in Davao del Sur, Cagayan de Oro in Misamis Oriental, Cotabato in Maguindanao, Koronadal in South Cotabato, and Dapitan in Zamboanga del Norte. 

“We are grateful for the government’s initiatives that make it possible for us to build more towers in order to deliver the best network quality and nationwidest coverage, including the unserved and underserved areas in our country,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer.

Panlilio said that Smart typically builds around 1,000 to 1,500 towers annually. Smart has also tapped 6 tower companies to build the initial batch of 180-200 common towers in support of the government’s common tower policy. 

Key to improving coverage, this accelerated tower rollout is part of the PLDT Group’s network improvement efforts on their fixed and wireless infrastructure. In addition to about 10,000 macro and micro-cellsites and more than 50,000 base stations across the country, PLDT also has the most extensive fiber network, which is now at 395,000 kilometers as of end-September. 

These investments form a large part of the PLDT Group’s sustained capital expenditures on their networks, which totaled some Php260 billion from 2015 to 2019. For 2020, with the network rollout regaining momentum following the easing of lockdown restrictions, PLDT has leveled up its target capital expenditures back up to about Php70 billion or more.