Smart signs P3.5-B loan deal with LandBank for network upgrade


Wireless services company Smart Communications Inc. has signed a P3.5 billion term loan facility agreement with the LandBank of the Philippines (LBP) to finance its network upgrade and expansion programs in response to growing demand for faster mobile broadband services in the country.

Smart said the loan facility came in two tranches of P3 billion and P500 million and that the agreements were signed last January 29 and February 3, respectively.

Both loans are payable over seven years with an annual amortization rate of 1 percent of the principal amount on the first year up to the sixth year, commencing on the first anniversary of the initial drawdown and the balance payable upon maturity on February 5, 2021.

The amount of P3 billion was fully drawn on February 5, while the second loan of P300 million was fully drawn on February 7.

Smart, a unit of local telecom giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), has set a full-year capital expenditure of P29 billion.

Meanwhile, PLDT announced the roll-out of its P1-billion domestic fiber optic network (DFON) linking Palawan Province to PLDT’s broader network infrastructure.

The project consists of 620 kilometers of state-of-the-art fiber optic inland and submarine cables that run from Puerto Princesa to Taytay in Palawan and San Jose de Buenavista to La Paz, Iloilo City.

The company said the DFON project was designed to support the increasing demand for reliable telecom and data services in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country.

It said DFON enables PLDT to provide fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) facilities that deliver multimedia services and high-speed internet connectivity from the comfort of people’s homes in Palawan

“With its huge capacity at 40 Gigabits that can easily be expanded to 100 GBPS (Gigabits per second), Palawan DFON supports the rapidly growing demand for greater bandwidth by corporate and individual subscribers,” PLDT president and CEO Napoleon Nazareno said.

At the end of September last year, PLDT’s total fiber footprint stood at more than 75,000 kilometers, inclusive of 7,200 kilometers of international submarine fiber, and over 4,000 kilometers of domestic submarine fiber.


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