By Emmie V. Abadilla
Globe Telecom, Inc. is on course, deploying Long Term Evolution (LTE) services to 95 percent of cities and municipalities nationwide by the end of 2018, the telco announced.
This is part of the company’s commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) when it was granted co-use of the 700 MHz, 2600 MHz, and other spectrum bands, following the acquisition of 50% of San Miguel’s telecommunication assets in 2016.
The new spectrum assets enabled Globe to fast-track the rollout of LTE service nationwide, according to Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Governance, Network Technical Group.
As of third quarter of 2018, Globe has deployed close to 12,000 LTE cell sites using 700 MHz, 2600 MHz, and other spectrum assets. Almost 3,000 of these LTE sites are equipped with 700 MHz, while over 3,700 of these LTE sites are powered by 2600 MHz.
The LTE sites cover major business districts and highly-urbanized and populated areas in the Philippines, as customers using LTE-capable devices are steadily increasing in these areas, he noted. About 50 percent of new LTE site deployments during 2018 are in NCR/GMA region, 35 percent in North Luzon and South Luzon, while about 15 percent are in Visayas and Mindanao.
As of end-September this year, the LTE service of Globe is now available in about 90 percent of cities and municipalities nationwide.
“We are confident that more and more Filipinos will experience improved Internet services as adoption of LTE-capable devices increases and as we continue to deploy LTE coverage in more cities and municipalities,” Agustin remarked.
“This is consistent with our strategy of continuously improving Internet services using the previously-idle 700 MHz spectrum and other frequencies that the NTC allowed us to co-use.”
The aggressive deployment of LTE sites has led to significant improvement in the Philippines’ 4G LTE availability.
OpenSignal results for March 2018 showed that 4G LTE availability in the Philippines jumped to 63.70% from just 44.80% during the third quarter of 2016 – the period when Globe first utilized its 700 MHz spectrum assets.
Globe was also able to retain its position of having the highest 4G LTE availability nationwide as its customers were able to access the service 67.5% of the time, as compared to its competition’s 59.68%, the latest OpenSignal report said.
The latest 4G LTE availability score of Globe was also “a big improvement from the 55.3% recorded in March 2017,” the report added.
Aside from nearing deployment of LTE service in 95% of cities and municipalities nationwide, Globe also fired up almost 300 massive MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) sites through the use of high-band spectrum 2600 MHz.
Massive MIMO is a wireless transmission technique that uses a large number of antennas to improve cell capacity.
The technology increases wireless throughput, accommodating more users at higher data rates with better reliability while consuming less power.
This technology is seen to provide vast mobile capacity, coverage, and reliability for 5G, which Globe is set to deploy at homes by the second quarter of 2019.