Armed with new laws and policies by the national government, top telecommunications company Globe is expecting the complete the build of 1,300 new cell sites by the end of 2020.
Using the mandate given by the Bayanihan to Recover as One Act, and the Joint Memorandum Circular 01 issued of the ARTA, DILG and other concerned agencies, Globe was able to secure 1,857 permits which resulted to building 1,050 new sites to date and complete 10,876 upgrades to 4G/LTE.
The new sites were built in areas that needed connectivity the most, including Lanao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, Antique, Iloilo, Leyte, Palawan, Aklan, Maguindanao, Cotabato, Misamis Oriental, and Davao del Oro.
On top of improving mobile services, Globe will build 600K broadband lines by the end of 2020, 55% more vs FY 2019, in recognition of the increased internet usage at home for learning, business, and work due to the pandemic. By making FTTH more pervasive, this will enable the country to catch up with its neighbors in terms of speed and total quality of connectivity.
The rollout of 5G is also on track. To date, Globe has 708 sites making 5G available in 17 key cities in Metro Manila, Visayas and Mindanao. The telco expects to cover 80% of Metro Manila with 5G technology by the end of 2020.
Improved data experience with advanced technology
The network upgrades of existing sites to 4G LTE resulted in positive customer feedback from over 1,098 cities, municipalities and 80 provinces which are now experiencing significant improvements in calls, texts and data services. Customers in areas including Lucban, Quezon; Lobo, Batangas; Jolo, Sulu; Guinobatan, Albay; Limay, Bataan; Antipolo and Cainta in Rizal; Lapu-Lapu, Cebu; Legazpi City, Albay; Angeles City, Pampanga; Malolos City, Bulacan; Pontevedra, Capiz, Sta. Rosa City, Laguna; Quezon City, Valenzuela City, Paranaque City, Las Pinas City, Manila in Metro Manila; Ormoc City, Leyte; and San Francisco, Agusan Del Sur were able to experience service improvements.
Several LGUs have likewise expressed the importance of connectivity in their areas. Some of these partner LGUs including those in remote areas, like Liloan in Cebu and Oriental Mindoro. Globe was the first to answer the call for connectivity in Liloan.
“It’s high time we bring development to the high mountainous parts of Liloan, which is one of the most beautiful and very rich in resources here in our town. Let’s bring equal opportunity to them, the same opportunities our lowland barangays enjoy,” Liloan Mayor Christina Frasco said.
Oriental Mindoro Governor Humerlito “Bonz” Dolor also extolled the cellsite erected in his area. “Because of the COVID19 pandemic, kinailangan ng probinsiya ngayon na mag adjust sa bagong normal, karamihan sa mga transaction ngayon ay ginagamitan ng online. Karamihan ng mga ginagawa natin ngayon ay through internet. Nung wala pa internet na ganun kaayos, putul-putol kailangan nakaganun sa bintana, kailangan naghahanap ka ng signal sa kabi-kabila. Pero ngayon with the very good signal that we are now starting to experience, kailangan natin ito,” Dolor explained.
Improvements certified by International analytics firms
Globe has been consistent in performance improvements year on year in providing fast and reliable data services in the most critical areas of the country. Independent global analytics firms including UK-based Opensignal and Ookla have likewise reported these service improvements.
Globe has been awarded by Opensignal with the Global Rising Star Award for Most Improved Video Experience, based on user data covering the first half of 2019 vs. the first half of 2020. Globe’s improvement score of 32.7% signifies impressive gains with the worldwide average at 14%. Opensignal’s metrics for “mobile video experience measures the average video experience of Opensignal users on 3G and 4G network with methodology that involves measuring real-world video streams and uses an ITU-based approach for determining video quality.” Other awards received by Globe include Best Voice App Experience, and Joint Winner in Games Experience.
Ookla® also verified that Globe has the most consistent 4G network in 13 out of 17 regions based on Q3 2020 data. These regions include Bicol, Cagayan Valley, Calabarzon, Caraga, Central Luzon, Central Visayas, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Eastern Visayas, Ilocos Region, MIMAROPA, Northern Mindanao, Region 12 (SOCCSKSARGEN), and the Zamboanga Peninsula.
These service improvements were spurred by Globe’s increased investments for capex to upgrade the network. This was reported in the IMD World Digital Competitiveness Ranking 2020 where the Philippines ranked top 10 globally in terms of telco investments. Over the last 6 years, Globe has invested P255.70 billion in capex.
Affordable Internet for All
In terms of internet pricing and affordability, relative to other countries in Asia, the cost of mobile prepaid internet access in the Philippines remains to be among the most affordable at Php11.25 per GB versus Thailand (with a comparable cost of Php190.59), Singapore (Php35.60) and Indonesia (Php32.76). More importantly, Globe’s Prepaid promos have bigger data allocations that can be used in all websites and apps. Similarly, the price of Globe Prepaid Broadband is now at Php 9 per gigabyte. With the reduced price of mobile broadband, it is expected that the country’s cost of internet as a percent of GNI per capita will be much lower than the global average. This benefits the Philippine market even more which is about 97% prepaid. Altogether, access to the internet by Filipinos has never been more affordable and pervasive as it is now.
“With the country’s improving state of overall internet service in terms of speed, affordability, and access to a more advanced 4G and 5G technology, coupled with the strengthened support from the government, we are optimistic that the country’s state of connectivity is well on its way to be at par with our Asian neighbors,” said Ernest Cu, Globe President and CEO.