Economy

PLDT, Smart report more than 70% improvement in download speeds

PLDT, Inc. said its fixed broadband download speeds have improved by 78% in 2020 after expansions and upgrades amid a pandemic crisis.

Its wireless arm, Smart Communications, Inc., also saw its mobile download speeds improve by 71%.

“As of  2020, PLDT’s average fixed broadband download speeds were at 32.20 Mbps (megabits per second), whereas Smart’s average mobile download speeds were at 17.82 Mbps — posting improvements of 78% and 71%, respectively, compared to 2017, based on analysis by Ookla® of tests taken with Speedtest,” PLDT said in a statement on Tuesday.

PLDT had more than 429,000 kilometers of fiber infrastructure as of December last year.

The fiber infrastructure, which also supports Smart networks, covers 96% of the country’s population.

PLDT’s wireless arm had more than 59,000 base stations as of December 2020. Both PLDT and Smart had also secured more than 2,500 permits from government agencies to put up more cell sites.

“Providing good customer experience remains to be our ‘North Star’, as we aim to elevate PLDT and Smart to the level of global operators,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart Communications president and chief executive officer and PLDT chief revenue officer.  

The wireless unit had built 700 new cell sites last year in addition to its more than 10,000 sites across the Philippines. It is also preparing to roll out 2,000 more cell sites this year.

PLDT noted that its investments for capital expenditures (capex) from 2015 to 2019 had reached P260 billion.

The company has yet to announce its capex budget for 2021, but it recently said that it was ready to invest between P88 billion and P92 billion this year.

The company had set a capex budget of P70 billion for 2020.

It recently sold its 37-storey Smart Tower in Makati City for $128 million to real estate development company DMC Urban Property Developers, Inc. to raise capital.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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