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PHL ranks in world’s top telco investments




The Philippines is among the top 10 countries that are pouring in massive investments in telecommunications to improve infrastructures and internet connectivity, according to IMD World Digital Competitiveness Rankings (WDCR) of 2020.

A recent study by the Switzerland-based IMD World Competitive Center ranked the Philippines 10th along with India (1), South Africa (2), Croatia (3), Australia (4), Slovenia (5), Columbia (6), Ukraine (7), Malaysia (8) and Mongolia (9) out of 63 economies which scored high in terms of investments in the industry.

WDCR, which was conducted during the first wave of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), measures the capacity and readiness of these countries to adopt and explore digital technologies for economic and social transformation in the face of the pandemic.

It ranked economies it surveyed based on knowledge, technology and future-readiness.

In the Philippines, the two giant telcos have increased its spending on telecommunications infrastructure over the years, to expand connectivity and improve internet access and with the entry of the third telco — DITO Telecommunity — the country is envisioned to make headway in capacity and services.

Globe Telecom president and CEO Ernest Cu has said that the company’s capital expenditures to revenue ratio in 2019 were at 34 percent and it would continue to increase its investments due to higher demands for services.

And in 2020 alone, Globe has set aside P50.3 billion in CAPEX for builds and rollouts of its cell towers, fiber modernization, and other expansion and upgrades to further improve connectivity, particularly in areas where there are gaps.

“With better, faster, accessible, and affordable services, more opportunities will be made available to our people. These opportunities will then be translated to a more stable and stronger economy that hopefully will give the Philippines a better spot in World Digital Competitiveness rankings in the future,” said Cu.

The MVP-led Smart Communications, on the other hand, has poured in some P70 billion in the past to improve its capacity and coverage, according to reports.

Third telco DITO, meanwhile, is in the process of building 1,000 cell sites across the country and is preparing 1,200 base stations to be on air by January 2021.

All these combined and with new government policies of easing restrictions in the permitting process for the construction of telco towers and shift to digitalization, the Philippines is expected to better address and mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the economy.