PLDT-Smart to ramp up network investments to support rise in data traffic

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Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), wireless arm of the country’s largest integrated telco PLDT, posted a record number of active data users on its mobile network, following expanded, customer-centric initiatives to encourage data usage and adoption.

To date, more than three in every four handsets (76%) latched on Smart’s mobile network are smartphones, bulk of which are already LTE. Active data users on Smart’s network are at 36.8 million as of end-September 2020.

“We have set our eyes north in 2020 and kept a steady gaze on customer-centricity as the only way to win. Having the customer at the center of our decisions and actions helps us zero in on key priorities: invest in the best network build and quality, deliver the most relevant content and develop the most advanced technology that provides the simplest solutions and platforms to our customers,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart Communications President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer.

Following six consecutive quarters of gaining wireless market share, Panlilio added that Smart is now number one in data users. Mobile data traffic, on the other hand, nearly doubled to 2,114 petabytes in the first nine months of 2020, compared to a year ago.

Out of PLDT’s consolidated service revenues, 72% is from data and broadband. Of this, about half or P45.2 billion is from mobile internet, registering a 31-percent increase year-on-year.

Enabling these services are PLDT-Smart’s integrated fixed and wireless networks. As of September 2020, Smart has increased the number of its LTE base stations by 17%, compared to end-2019. Smart’s mobile service is supported by PLDT‘s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country at 395,000 kilometers, up by 22% from end-2019. To date, 96% of the Philippine population is now covered by Smart’s mobile data networks.

The PLDT Group’s investments in capital expenditures have totaled Php 432 billion from 2011 to September 2020. PLDT’s expansion efforts and investments helped the Group cope with sustained growth in data traffic when COVID-19 community quarantines commenced in March. PLDT is anticipating capex of at least P70 billion for 2020.