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Telco firms bare measures to solve connectivity woes

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - July 25, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Telecommunication companies recently announced their respective actions to address the slow internet connectivity in the Philippines.

Smart Communications in a statement announced its plan to activate 360 LTE cell sites with 700 MHz this year, initially in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao, to bring LTE service to nearly 40 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities by end-2016.

LTE or Long Term Evolution, is a standard for high-speed wireless communication for mobile phones and data terminals.

Meanwhile, customers of Globe Telecom in Visayas and Mindanao stand to benefit from the accelerated deployment of its additional allocation in the 2600 megahertz band as the company continues to step up its capacity-enhancement initiative to provide better mobile internet experience, announced Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Governance, Network Technical Group.

According to Agustin, Globe's additional allocation in the 2600 MHz frequency is among the spectrum assets that it gained following the joint buyout of San Miguel Corp.’s telecommunications assets.

In Vismin, Globe's total number of sites equipped with the 2600 MHz frequency has reached 500 sites, to cover big businesses and highly urbanized populated residential areas.

Agustin explained that the accelerated deployment of the 2600 MHz provides additional data capacity through the Carrier Aggregation technology, using this spectrum with other LTE frequencies.

Smart on the other hand, is also working with device manufacturers to push more 4G/LTE handsets out in the market, to give more users access to the high-speed mobile data network being put in place.

To date, Smart has activated nearly 200 new cell sites across the country, bringing to 2,221 the total number of sites now using the 1800 MHz frequency covered by a co-use agreement with the telecoms business of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).

In a statement, Smart said that by activating these cell sites, located in 656 cities and municipalities in 73 provinces of the country, it  has enhanced the ability of its GSM or 2G network to handle more calls and text messages, particularly in dense urban areas in Metro Manila, North Luzon, South Luzon, in the Visayas, and Mindanao.

 Smart has fired up eight LTE cell sites using the 700 MHz spectrum. Five of these cell sites are in Davao City, with one each in Tanay, Rizal; Bacoor, Cavite; and Manggahan area in Pasig City. Smart is also in the process of ordering the equipment, and fortifying the capacity of its transmission and other network elements, in order to support the deployment of the 700 MHz.

Last week, Senator Paolo Benigno "Bam" Aquino IV challenged the country's telecommunication providers to immediately fix their infrastructure, otherwise they will have to take the blamed if the Philippines economy suffers a loss.

Aquino, who was in Cebu recently admitted that despite the government's efforts to solve the issues on internet connectivity in the country, the case remains to be a "headache and pain points in the Senate."

The Senator, who is currently the chairman for the committee on Trade, Commerce and Entrepreneurship at the Senate, admitted the Philippines is lagging behind its competitors and may lose its economic luster if this particular issue on connectivity will not be given a resolution in the next one to two years.

Slow and expensive internet connection in the country is a poignant ingredient seen to impede economic growth in the Philippines, Aquino said. (FREEMAN)

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