The country’s leading telecommunications firm Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) said it is aiming for 50 percent Long-Term Evolution (LTE) coverage by the end of 2014 from about 30 percent at present.
LTE is a wireless broadband technology designed to support roaming Internet access via cell phones and handheld devices.
“By the end of this year we should be hitting about 50 percent coverage for LTE from about 27 percent. We are now maybe about 30 percent,” PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon Nazareno told reporters.
He added that PLDT Group’s capital expenditures (capex) for this year will hit about P32 billion, slightly higher than last year which was about P29 billion.
The increased capex will be used to accelerate its LTE rollout plus the additional fiber rollout of its network which now spans 85,000 kilometers.
PLDT said it is rapidly expanding its fixed wireless and mobile broadband network with the deployment of 5,000 new fourth-generation (4G) base stations to bring ultra-fast wireless connectivity to nearly all cities and municipalities in the country in the coming months.
“This aggressive expansion of our LTE network is part of our thrust to provide broadband connectivity to the whole country,” Nazareno said.
“It complements our efforts to provide connectivity to all Filipino homes through fixed lined services like our fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) and the Next Generation Network (NGN) services,” the official added.
Revolutionize internet experience
PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Communications launched its mobile LTE service in 2012. In April this year, PLDT deployed the fixed wireless version of LTE, the first in the country, to provide high-speed wireless broadband services to homes via its PLDT HOME Bro Ultera service that provides speeds of up to 10 Mbps.
Nearly 2,000 LTE base stations have so far been deployed, PLDT said.
Originally offered in Metro Manila, PLDT HOME Bro Ultera has since been brought to provincial areas from as far as Cagayan Province in Northern Luzon to Davao del Sur in Mindanao.
“This new service revolutionizes the country’s internet experience as it enables more Filipino families to gain ready access to multimedia services like social media, movies, games, and music,” PLDT EVP and HOME Business Group head Ariel Fermin said.
This LTE to the Home service utilizes Time Division-LTE (TD-LTE), one of the two wireless data transmission technologies that fall under the international standard of LTE.
“The ultra-fast TD-LTE has maximum speeds per individual user of up to 42 Mbps, which is almost six times faster than WiMax and 21 times more than Canopy. It can serve more customers and provide a better internet experience than both,” PLDT Technology Group head Rolando Peña said.
The deployment of more LTE base stations will also enable Smart to expand its high-speed mobile broadband service.
The continuing expansion of its fiber optic cable network has enabled the PLDT Group to reach more areas of the country with broadband services through both fixed and mobile technologies.