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PLDT, Smart can afford Hyun Bin and major network upgrades at the same time

Major telco player PLDT has the financial clout to both invest billions of pesos to strengthen its core, while still tapping A-list celebrities to boost its market reach.
PLDT can afford Hyun Bin and major network upgrades at the same time
Smart taps Hyun Bin as its latest endorser

PLDT has the money to afford network upgrades, Hyun Bin

After announcing South Korean star Hyun Bin as the new face of its wireless arm Smart Communications' latest campaign "Simple, Smart Ako", PLDT surely received a bashing from many netizens criticizing its services, saying the group must solely focus on its network upgrades. 

But they are doing it, shelling out billions of pesos every year to support its network infrastructure buildup.

To execute the 5G deployment plan, the company has heavily invested PHP 260 billion in overall capital expenditure (capex) over the past 5 years. In 2019 alone, the company reached a record of PHP 72.9 billion capex.

In 2020, the capex is expected to reach PHP 70 billion despite the slowdown in network rollout due to the COVID-19 quarantine situation.

Here's what PLDT Chief Revenue Officer and Smart President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio had to say in late May: 

Over the last five years, we have spent PHP 260 billion in Capex, and that has made us very capable of serving our customers during this pandemic. In the end, our objective really is to serve our customers, make sure their experience is good. We have sustained that during these very stressful times, he said.

Back in Q1 2020, Smart claimed that the company has boosted the number of its 4G/LTE base stations to 26,000, 6 percent higher from end-2019. 

PLDT also added that its fiber infrastructure, which supports Smart’s network by providing high-capacity links to LTE base stations, is now at 338,500 kilometers nationwide, 5 percent more than end-2019, and up nearly 40 percent from end-2018.

So what seems to be the problem?

While it is true that the local telco sector, not just PLDT, is currently experiencing challenges in rolling its network due to the health crisis, both Pangilinan-led firm and Globe Telecom have long been facing red tape issue. 

Globe even said before that the company needed at least 20 permits to build a single cell site. 

The Philippines has only less than 20,000 towers nationwide, and the Department of Information and Communications Technology previously said we at least need 50,000 towers.

Until the issue on the said bureaucracy problem is resolved, Philippine telco services may continue to be compromised.

See also: Smart releases 4G LTE-A pocket WiFi plans, starts at PHP 699 per month

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