MVP assures Duterte of improved PLDT services
PLDT and wireless subsidiary Smart Communications remain as the country’s fastest fixed and mobile internet network, respectively, as of the first half, according to a recent report from global leader in internet testing and analysis Ookla.
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MVP assures Duterte of improved PLDT services
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 7, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — PLDT Inc. chairman, president and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan has given assurance that the country’s largest and only integrated telecommunications company will comply with President Duterte’s call for improved services by yearend.

“I am publicly assuring him that we will do our best to meet his expectations,” Pangilinan said in a virtual briefing yesterday.

“We share the President’s concern about the level of services that we offer and he’s given us a mission: improve your services by December. And so we should be laser-focused in achieving a better quality of service by yearend. It’s really as simple as that. Let’s not put any color into it. That is his mandate, so yes, sir,” he said.

During his State of the Nation Address late July, Duterte called out Globe and Smart to improve their services by December or the government “might just as well close all of you and we revert back to line telephone.”

Pangilinan said his group would welcome whatever standards to which the telcos would be judged in terms of how they improve their services by yearend.

“I’m not saying it’s the only standard available, but you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Look at what Ookla and Opensignal are doing, because those are the standards by which other telcos in the region and elsewhere are being judged. They want us to be compared in terms of those standards and at the same time the cost of the service. We’re willing to be judged on that basis. Why not?” he said.

PLDT and wireless subsidiary Smart Communications remain as the country’s fastest fixed and mobile internet network, respectively, as of the first half, according to a recent report from global leader in internet testing and analysis Ookla.

In terms of coverage, Pangilinan said PLDT currently has more than 95 percent of the population covered by its 4G network and this coverage will further be increased in the coming months.

As far as upload and download speeds of Smart are concerned, he said its current average of 22 Mbps would be raised to more than 30 Mbps by yearend.

“When you drill down to statistics, if PLDT were the only telco in the country, if PLDT were to be ranked with other telcos in the regions, we’ll be several notches, anywhere between eight to 11 places, above. We’re better than where the country is today. Obviously, the average weighs us down, but if it is nakedly PLDT alone, I think it would rank much better,” Pangilinan said.

Based on Ookla data, Pangilinan said the Philippines is currently ranked 22nd out of 33 countries in Asia-Pacific based on fixed network speed.

However, if PLDT is the sole basis, the country will be ranked 17th, five places higher.

For mobile speed, the country is ranked 25th out of 30 countries. If it is Smart alone, the rank would go eight places higher to number 17.

“That’s not to say there’s no room for further improvement. We try to agree with our regulator as to what standards we will be judged, the level of service that we ought to be delivered to our people,” Pangilinan said.

“Coverage, upload and download speeds, latency, video experience. There could be more that the government regulator might lay down for us, so at least that’s something objective, specific, quantitative that we can be measured by, because eventually that is what the rating agencies look at and that is how other telcos in other countries are measured as well,” he said.

To further upgrade its services this year, PLDT will continue to ramp up its capital spending.

“We are guided downward I think from P83 billion to about P63 billion at the onset of the pandemic, but given what we see now, we have upgraded the capex spent to P70 billion, or a reduction of 15 percent from the original P83 billion,” Pangilinan said.

“It’s also a response to the call for improved services. We felt that we should accelerate the build out of networks and that would mean increasing our capex for the year,” he said.

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