PLDT’s wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. is making good on its plan of improving its coverage and connectivity by rolling out 2,000 more cell sites in the coming year.
The company has already secured around 1,500 permits to build cell sites after the Anti-Red Tape Authority issued its Joint Memorandum Circular in August, allowing for the speedy issuance of permits to telcos to install hardware and equipment in areas where they are needed.
These permits cover towers to be built in Metro Manila and in typhoon-impacted provinces like Albay, Aurora, Batangas, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Isabela, Laguna, Masbate, Quezon, Rizal, and Sorsogon, which were in the path of recent strong typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.
Additionally, the permits also include the Luzon provinces of Abra, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, Mountain Province, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, 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.
PLDT chief revenue officer and Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo Panlilio said the company’s accelerated network expansion efforts is the telco’s solution for its unserved and underserved areas in the country. In addition, Smart has also tapped six tower companies to build the initial batch of 180 to 200 common towers, pursuant to the government’s common tower policy. This policy is meant to “ensure universal access to quality, affordable, reliable and secure ICT services” in the country as stated in the circular that was signed in May 29. The policy is meant as a long-term fix to address poor internet service that is way behind other big Southeast Asian countries.