Philippines operator Smart Communications has announced plans to upgrade 40 per cent of its sites to 5G by the end of 2021.
A total of 4,000 base stations will be upgraded to 5G next year, says the company. It adds that it will deploy an additional 4,000 LTE base stations nationwide. Local news media note that the company rolled out 279 base stations in the third quarter to support its 5G networks.
The PLDT fibre infrastructure supporting Smart’s 4G, 3G, and 2G networks has reached 422,000 kilometres as of November, according to local press reports. Smart has also increased the number of its LTE and 3G base stations to over 58,000, which is 20,000 more than in 2019.
Smart, the wireless arm of PLDT, a telecommunications, internet and digital service holdings company in the Philippines, has also put up more than 700 new towers so far this year as it plans to reach 726 by the end of 2020.
The company says that the new sites will help it to increase its LTE population coverage to 94-95 percent, cover more municipalities and provide more capacity for dense areas.
Smart has secured 1,600 permits since the country’s Anti-Red Tape Authority issued a joint memorandum circular that gave way to compliance orders for local government units to release permits for building cell sites.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, PLDT/Smart announced on 1 December that it aims to deploy an additional 2,000 cell sites in fiscal 2021, while augmenting its fibre-optic network infrastructure with new cabling in the Bicol region and in Samar province.