MANILA, Philippines – Globe Telecom Inc. gears up for a significant system upgrade in the next five years, and CEO Ernest Cu has called out again for the unshared 700 megahertz (MHz) spectrum, privately owned by San Miguel Corporation (SMC), to be distributed fairly among networks in the industry.
“We're calling for the government to rationalize the use of the 700 MHz spectrum. That spectrum is a national resource [and] it’s kind of wasting away in a dormant state held on to by one company with no subscribers at the moment,” Cu said in his keynote speech at the IX Globe Wonderful World event on Monday, March 28.
The call follows the dropped talks between SMC and Australia-based Telstra Corporation Limited which was supposed to introduce a third player in the telecommunications industry. Globe had also previously bid for the said spectrum in 2005 but was turned down.
“It's one of the most valuable bands in the LTE world, which allows further reach and coverage. It’s important that it would be put to good and full use,” Cu added.
The Globe head also lamented the lengthy process of cell site establishment in the country, which, according to him, takes six to eight months to do so.
“We have wanted to provide better service for our country; I hope our local governments join us in doing that. There’s so much red tape in [the] bureaucracy,” Cu said.
Better, wider coverage by 2020
Globe aims to increase its coverage by 70% for mobile and broadband data in the next five years, envisioning a more digitally conscious consumer market in the future.
Unlike its previous mobile-centered strategy, the company is refocusing to home data consumers as it is set to deploy fiber optic cables to 20,000 barangays by 2020.
“We’ve always been centered to mobile, but we see the home consumer is changing their habit. The clamor for higher speeds at home is there…. It’s the first time we’re doing this,” Cu said.
The company is set to spend $750 million (P34.71 billion) this year, majority of which would be for this fiber optics cable deployment which would hopefully address the “slow Internet status” of the country.
Cu also announced the construction of the Southeast Asia and United States (SEA-US) cable system, which connects the country to the US through a different route that spans from Guam to Davao City (the first cable landing station in the area).
The project will feature state-of-the-art fiber latency with 100 Gigabit per second technology, which will provide an additional 20 terabit per second capacity to the service provider.
“It's important for us to be aggressive because subscribers are coming our way. If we don’t deliver the right service, they will move. We want to make sure our network superiority is maintained,” Cu added.
New products, services
As it gets aggressive in the broadband service war, Globe also unveiled cheaper broadband plans starting at P699 ($15.10), and free Google Chromecast 2 for those who will avail of P999 ($21.58) plans and up. The device allows users to stream high-definition video content from streaming services like HOOQ and Netflix.
It has also acquired rights to be the sole distributor of Disney Mobile phones in Southeast Asia, making the Philippines the second country to have the device, next to Japan. Selling price for the devices is yet to be announced but postpaid plans start at P700 ($15.12).
The company is also spending $500 million (P23.14 billion) to improve corporate network provisions among companies, on top of its more comprehensive myBusiness plans for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with prices starting at P1299 ($28.07).