Philippines operator PLDT announced it secured permission to double its tower presence in the country, as part of plans to meet growing connectivity demands and government targets.
In a statement, PLDT said it gained permission to build towers on 600 sites bringing its total to more than 1,200 since the Anti-Red Tape Authority issued its Joint Memorandum Circular in August.
“We are grateful for the government’s initiatives that make it possible for us to build more towers in order to deliver the best network quality and nationwide coverage, including the unserved and underserved areas in our country,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT chief revenue officer, and president and CEO of subsidiary Smart.
Panlilio noted Smart typically builds 1,000 to 1,500 towers annually. The company tapped six tower companies to build an initial 180-200 towers to support government connectivity targets.
This accelerated tower buildout is part of wider group plans to improve coverage. The company also plans to construct 10,000 macro and microcell sites, and 50,000 base stations. It expanded its fibre optic cable network to 395,000 kilometres as of end-September.
The above investments totalled PHP260 billion ($5.3 billion) capital expenditure from 2015 to 2019. In 2020, the company announced it aims to invest up to PHP70 billion in upgrades.
The new permits allows tower construction in the following regions: Metro Manila and Rizal, the Luzon provinces of Abra, Albay, Aurora, Batangas, Benguet, Bulacan, Cagayan, Camarines Sur, Cavite, Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Laguna, Masbate, Mountain Province, Nueva Ecija, Palawan, Pampanga, Pangasinan, Quezon, Sorsogon, Tarlac, and Zambales; Visayas provinces of Aklan, Antique, Bohol, Cebu, Iloilo, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Northern Samar and Southern Leyte; and Mindanao provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Cotabato (North Cotabato), Davao del Sur, Davao Oriental, Lanao Del Norte Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Misamis Oriental, South Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga Sibugay, and Zamboanga del Norte.