PLDT-Smart to build around 200 cell sites

PLDT Inc. and its wireless unit Smart Communications bared plans to build 200 cell sites with six shared telecommunications firms to provide better connectivity in the Philippines.

“We recognize that common towers are common all over the world. Many countries adopted that policy,” PLDT-Smart Public Affairs Head Ramon Isberto said during the virtual Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology issued the Department Circular (DC) No. 008, series 2020 on May 29, which is the guidelines on “Shared Passive Telecommunications Tower Infrastructure (PTTIs).”

The circular mandates “all PTTIs built, improved, renovated, upgraded or retrofitted shall provide ample slots for all mobile network operators and the DICT to co-locate their antennas, transmitters, receivers, radio frequency modules, and communication systems and other equipment.”

“We are receptive and supporting that policy as well,” Isberto said.

“We already signed agreements with six companies, and we have an initial target rollout of about 180 to 200 cell sites. But that’s just the starting because we want to see how it actually operates,” he added.

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PLDT-Smart to build around 200 cell sites

Isberto, however, did not name the six common companies.

The PLDT-Smart official said they are still exploring agreements with several other common tower companies, “and we hope to sign them soon.”

“We certainly want to take advantage of the opportunity the common towers will offer,” he said.

“We just want to say that PLDT-Smart committed to improving our services,” he said.

President Rodrigo Duterte said during the fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA)that he would coordinate with the Congress to remove Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. from the industry if they would not improve their service by December.

“Kindly improve the services before December. I want to call Christ to Bethlehem. Better have that line cleared,” Duterte said.

“The next two years will be spent improving the telecommunications of the country without you. I will talk to Congress and find a way how to do it,” he added.

“This year, we are spending about P70 billion, it should be P83 billion, but because of the situation, it is difficult to roll out,” Isberto said.