PLDT sets lower capex for ’13By Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) expects to spend less for expansion this year following the recent completion of its two-year network modernization program.
Company officials refused to divulge the amount but said it would be lower than the P33 billion last year.
Despite the lower capital expenditure (capex) plan, PLDT chair Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company’s top priority would still be the expansion of its high-speed wireless and fixed broadband networks.
“There’s still a lot to be done. One is the buildup of our 4G-LTE (fourth generation Long Term Evolution) data network,” Pangilinan told reporters.
PLDT’s mobile unit, Smart Communications, is the first local telecom company to make LTE connectivity commercially available in the Philippines. LTE technology offers subscribers significantly faster download and browsing speeds over older third-generation (3G) wireless technologies.
Pangilinan said PLDT would also expand its fiber-optic backbone, which supported the company’s wireless and fixed broadband and telephony services. PLDT now has 54,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables around the country—about four times more than that of rival Globe Telecom.
He said the telco was also looking at a new international cable landing station for the country.
PLDT is part of the consortium of regional telcos that built the $400-million Asia Submarine-Cable Express (ASE), increasing the company’s total bandwidth capacity. PLDT contributed $55 million to the project.
The ASE was PLDT’s third landing station, after those in Nasugbu, Batangas, for the Asia Pacific Cable Network 2 (APCN2) and Southeast Asia-Middle East-West Europe 3 (SMW3), and Bauang, La Union, for Asia-America Gateway (AAG). International landing cables are what bring Internet traffic in and out of the Philippines.
PLDT spent P67 billion for the modernization of its network in 2011 and 2012. Lower spending this year would also mean better cash flows, translating into bigger dividends for shareholders, Pangilinan said.