Globe, PLDT promise faster internet with 700 MHz spectrum rollout

Less than two weeks after that landmark deal wherein Globe Telecom and the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) purchased the telecommunication assets of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) for P70 billion, both telco giants had started utilizing the coveted 700 Megahertz spectrum, the prized asset which they got from SMC.

Globe reportedly generated speeds ranging from 60 to 100 Mbps from its first cell site using the 700 MHz frequency, in Hardin ng Bougainvillea at UP Diliman, Quezon City. The improved internet speed will benefit customers within a 2.2 kilometer of the cell site, according to Joel Agustin, Globe's senior vice-president for program governance.

In the next few months, Agustin said that Globe will implement the same protocol for 200 cell sites with a high density of users, like the NCR.

Meanwhile, PLDT's Smart Communications has also started using the 700 MHz spectrum in three cell sites located in Tanay, Rizal; Matina, Davao City, and Manggahan, Pasig City. The Tanay cell site reportedly achieved peak speeds of more than 200 Mbps. Like Globe, PLDT will also utilize the 700 MHz spectrum in 360 cell sites nationwide, starting with key urban centers, according to Enterprise Innovation.

Compared to higher bandwidths, the 700 MHz is precious because it enables greater coverage at lesser cost. Not much infrastructure is needed to activate it. In fact, PLDT and Globe are using their existing cell sites, with a few improvements, to maximize the usage of the 700 MHz bandwidth.

The 700 MHz spectrum can also easily penetrate walls, making indoor connectivity better and more stable. Agustin of Globe said that up to 80% of their customer base are using data indoors. Though the spectrum will benefit those who are using LTE-compatible devices, non LTE-device users will eventually feel the faster internet connection because decongestion in spectrums supporting 3G and 4G is expected to follow.

Owing to the optimization of the 700 MHz spectrum, Globe said overall improvement in their internet service can be felt in three to four months, while PLDT said their services will be upgraded in the next four to six months.

All of these talks about faster internet is good, but we will say only say hurray if Globe and PLDT-Smart can bring down the cost of subscription for their  LTE-based wireless and fixed broadband network services.

Internet speeds reaching 100 to 200 Mbps would mean nothing to approximately 47 million internet users in the Philippines if the cost is still prohibitive. What good will it bring to ordinary citizens like us, if the subscription price for such high-speed internet services is still way above what our pockets can afford?
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