PLDT and Smart Communications chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan was named Telecom CEO of the Year at the Telecom Asia Awards ceremony held on June 26 in Singapore.
“I accept this award with caution and humility,” Pangilinan said. “I am very mindful that in this age of relentless disruption, each new day brings fresh challenges. If anything, this award serves as a reminder that we must keep striving to reinvent our businesses and improve the lives of our people.”
The Telecom Asia Awards is the region’s longest-running industry awards program, which seeks to recognize the continent’s premier service providers and telco executives. It is organized annually by Telecom Asia, the largest telecom publishing group in the region.
Also nominated for the award won by Pangilinan were Andrew Kwok of HGC Global Communications Limited, Bill Barney of Reliance Communications & Global Cloud Xchange, Chua Sock Koong of the Singtel Group, Dian Siswarini of XL Axiata, Ernest Cu of Globe Telecom, Vinod Kumar of Tata Communications, and Yang Jie of China Telecom.
“I must also thank my colleagues at PLDT and Smart for the great work they have done in transforming our network and creating new digital businesses for the group. In these times, collaboration is critical to success. This honor belongs to them as well, and I am proud to accept this on their behalf,” he added.
Under Pangilinan’s leadership, PLDT and Smart have committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation. This year, capital expenditures are expected to reach P58 billion, and will likely stay at that level over the next two years, bringing the group’s total capex to nearly P260 billion since it embarked on its network and IT transformation programs in 2016.
Aiming to bring world-class connectivity to Filipinos all over the country, Smart accelerated the deployment of Long Term Evolution (LTE), LTE-Advanced, and carrier aggregation technology by re-equipping cell sites with low-frequency and high-frequency bands for improved coverage, capacity, and speeds. Carrier aggregation is the capability of LTE-A to combine two or more radio frequency bands to deliver bigger bandwidth and faster data speeds.
In the first quarter of 2018 alone, Smart installed more than 1,300 LTE base stations, raising the total count to more than 10,000. This year, Smart plans to double the number of LTE base stations on its network to about 17,700 and raise the number of LTE-equipped cell sites to 6,800.
The accelerated rollout has boosted revenues, with mobile data revenues jumping 21% to P6.5 billion in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2017. Data now accounts for 44 percent of the revenues of the wireless individual business.
Third-party tests have also noted improvements on Smart’s network. Independent mobile analytics firm OpenSignal has cited Smart for having the Philippines’ fastest LTE network. Apart from winning the best in 4G LTE download speed award from OpenSignal, Smart was also cited for having the best overall download speed, best 4G latency performance, and best 3G latency performance.
Smart is also at the forefront of heralding fifth-generation wireless broadband technologies and services in the country, or 5G. Just last week, Smart, together with its technology partner Huawei Technologies Phils. Inc. successfully breached 5G speeds of over 14Gbps during a test held at the recently launched 5G TechnoLab, PLDT-Smart’s flagship facility for the research and development, standardization, and testing of 5G.