To support its network expansion program for its 4G/LTE and 5G services, Smart Communications said it has already signed agreements with six tower companies to build a pilot batch of almost 200 macro cell sites and is currently finalizing agreements with four more tower firms.
The tower companies include Phil Tower Consortium, ISOC edotco Towers, Frontier Tower Associates Philippines, ALT Global Solutions, Communication and Renewable Energy Infrastructure (CREI), and Ison Tower.
The common tower strategy is part of parent company PLDT and Smart’s broader effort to improve services, particularly for data, across the country. The agreements are also in support of the government’s common tower program aimed at improving Internet speeds and coverage nationwide through the construction of new cell sites.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) earlier issued common tower guidelines in May. The agency also recently announced it was planning to revise common tower rules to address feasibility concerns brought up by some independent tower companies.
To date, Smart said its mobile broadband service is available in 93% of the country’s municipalities and serves 95% of the population.
The PLDT Group’s network investments, which totaled some P260 billion over the past five years from 2015-19, have enabled its networks to carry the exponential growth in traffic and to bring new technologies such as LTE and 5G.
Amid the regained momentum of its network rollout efforts following the easing of lockdown restrictions, PLDT has leveled up its target capital expenditures for 2020 back up to about P70 billion.