Globe Telecom, as one of the biggest local network provider, is on course of deploying LTE service to about 95% of cities and municipalities nationwide by the end of 2018. The initiative is part of the compliance to National Telecommunications Commission’s (NTC) grant, allowing the company to use 700 MHz, 2600 MHz, and other spectrum bands as it acquires half of San Miguel’s telecommunication assets in 2016.
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. According to Joel Agustin, Globe’s senior vice president for Program Governance, the LTE sites cover major business districts as well as highly populated and urbanized area in the Philippines due to the increasing demand found on the said places. About 50% of new LTE site deployments during 2018 are in the National Capital Region/Greater Manila Area region, 35% are in North Luzon and South Luzon, while about 15% are in Visayas and Mindanao.
As of end-September this year, the LTE service of Globe is now available in about 90% 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. 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,” Agustin said.
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 read. 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.