PH now has 23K cell sites, still behind in ASEAN

While local telcos have stepped up the rollout of cell sites nationwide, the numbers have not come up to a third of the Philippines' neighbors in the region.

The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)'s latest report to Malacanang showed that the country now has a total of 22,834 cell sites.

Comparatively, Vietnam has 90,000.

Globe Telecom Inc. has built a total of 10,395 cell sites as of December, 2020; Smart Communications Inc., 10,079 and Dito Telecommunity, 2,360.

Globe built 786 new towers from July to December 2020 despite challenges posed by the pandemic. The telco secured a total of 2,089 permits during the period.

On the other hand, Smart fired up 726 new cell sites in 2020 despite the pandemic and plans to roll out an additional 2,000 cell sites in 2021.

The telcos managed to ramp up their infrastructure builds after the government cut the red tape in the permitting process.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the tower roll out after the President’s directive to ease up permits for the towers,” noted Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) Usec. Emmanuel Rey Caintic.

The DICT continues to urge telcos to continue with their aggressive builds.

“We remain committed to improving the voice and data experience of our customers," pledged Globe’s President and CEO Ernest Cu.

"This year we are doing a record amount of investment on capex to upgrade our network, build more cell sites and accelerate fiber rollouts to homes."

On the part of PLDT, "Our job is to make sure that we continue to provide superior data network to make the experience of our customers better than anybody can offer," says Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart Communications President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer. "This pandemic has driven us to become fitter and faster as an organization."