PLDT Inc. said Wednesday it will spend “north of P50 billion” in 2018 for mobile and fixed-broadband network expansion in preparation for the entry of a third player.
“We will announce a historic high in capex [capital expenditure] next year, north of P50 billion. We want to make a statement as well,” PLDT chairman and president Manuel Pangilinan told reporters.
PLDT programmed P38 billion in capex in 2017 to improve its mobile and fixed-broadband networks.
When asked about the possible entry of a third player, Pangilinan said “we’re waiting for that to happen and trying to get ready in case it happens in the first quarter [of 2018] because that’s what the president wants to happen.”
“We’re trying to get ready,” he said.
President Rodrigo Duterte ordered the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Telecommunications Commission to approve the applications and licenses of China Telecom along with its Filipino partner within the first quarter of 2018.
“It’s difficult to predict what China telco wishes to do here. There are some people saying they are going to focus on fixed line broadband. Until it happens, we don’t know,” Pangilinan said.
Globe senior vice president for corporate communications Yoly Crisanto said her company was ready to compete with another telco player, especially if this would pave the way for a more active participation in developing the telecom industry.
“If the entry of a new player can increase the density of cell sites in the country, existing players like Globe also stands to benefit,” she said.
“Time and again, we have maintained that the biggest hurdle in delivering consistently good internet service is the cumbersome permitting and right of way issues that prevent us from building the last mile connectivity,” Crisanto said.
She said similar to how spectrum were distributed to existing players, the allocation of frequencies should be commensurate to the number of customers served by each player.
Philippine Telegraph & Telephone Corp. earlier signed a memorandum of agreement with Chengdu Zhongxing Tiantong Technology Corp. to explore the feasibility of engaging in a project to provide free wireless broadband services in designated public areas before, during and after the occurrence of disasters in any part of the country.
PTT, which secured a franchise extension last year for another 25 years, offers fixed broadband to residential and business establishments in Metro Manila.
It aims to become a significant player in the broadband industry which is currently being dominated by Globe Telecom, PLDT Inc. and Sky Broadband.