Globe Telecom, the second largest operator in the Philippines, said it is aggressively expanding its network deployment in the efficient 700MHz band, rolling out more than 150 base stations, mostly in Manila, to improve its mobile internet capacity and speed.

The operator, with a 48 per cent share of the country’s mobile connections, said it plans to activate more than 500 700MHz sites across the country by the end of the year.

Globe SVP Joel Agustin said it is fast-tracking the rollout of LTE service nationwide using the 700MHz band and is “confident that more of our customers will experience improved services as adoption of LTE-capable devices increases and as we continue to deploy LTE 700 in more sites”.

The operator rolled out its first base stations supporting the 700MHz band in early June, shortly after acquiring the spectrum from San Miguel Corp (SMC).

Globe, as well as rival Smart, has committed to providing LTE service, including voice, SMS and data, to 95 per cent of municipalities and cities in the country by the end of 2018, as one of the conditions set by the regulator in approving the co-use agreement covering the spectrum that Globe acquired in the joint buyout of SMC’s telecoms assets.

In addition to the 700MHz band, the National Telecommunications Commission’s-approved co-use agreement gives Globe access to spectrum in the 1.8, 2.3 and 2.6GHz bands.

But as both Globe and Smart rush to deploy their 700MHz networks, the Philippines Competition Commission said in June it is conducting a “comprehensive review” of the SMC acquisition, after asking operators to resubmit filings, with the agency indicating that the companies may have failed to comply with guidelines of the competition act.

The two operators also face pressure from the House, where representatives have requested the companies to explain why their broadband service is so poor and why their franchises should not be revoked.

According to wireless coverage mapping firm OpenSignal, the overall speed of the country’s 3G and 4G networks is just 3.13Mb/s, which is slower than India (5.13Mb/s), Myanmar (4.78Mb/s) and Pakistan (3.33Mb/s). The Philippines was ranked 89th out of 95 countries.