PLDT Enterprise, the corporate arm of the country’s leading integrated telco network PLDT Inc.(PLDT), will continue to spend heavily on connectivity to transform the Philippines into Asia-Pacific’s next digital hub and sustain the growth of the contact center and business process industry, a strong driver of economic activity and job creation.
In a panel discussion entitled “New Horizons: Expanding into the Countryside” at the Contact Island 2023 conference held recently in Cebu City, PLDT Global Corporation President and CEO, Albert Villa-Real, noted that last year the PLDT Group invested significantly to upgrade and extend an already expansive domestic fiber optic backbone and join more international cable consortia. PLDT Global is the international business unit of PLDT.
Just last year, PLDT tripled its international capacity and improved traffic re-route capability with the activation of the US-Transpacific Jupiter Cable System, helping position the Philippines as the next data center hub for hyperscalers.
The PLDT Group has further expanded its total fiber footprint to over 1.1 million kilometers, consisting of international and domestic fiber, as of end-June 2023. PLDT’s fiber infrastructure supports Smart’s mobile network, which covers around 97% of the population with 3G, 4G/LTE, and 5G.
The mobility restrictions put in place by the government to stem the spread of COVID-19 starting mid-March 2020 only complicated an already difficult task of digitalizing an archipelago of over 7,000 islands. But PLDT, Villa-Real said, was up to the task.
“During the pandemic, we had to deliver wireless products at a moment’s notice whether via land, air, or sea. It was a difficult process especially during the lockdowns, but going beyond the call of duty is what PLDT is all about, particularly during hard times when connectivity is needed by the country and the customers we serve,” he said.
PLDT Enterprise provides both wireless and fixed connectivity to service multi-industry demand for high-capacity data and next-generation services. The fixed business segment offers next-level solutions that are centered on management services and Software-defined Wide Area Network to help banks, financial services companies, insurance, retail, and fast-moving consumer goods operations. It is also Cisco-Gold certified, highlighting PLDT Enterprise’s commitment to innovation.
The wireless business of PLDT Enterprise also has the “Internet of Possibilities” platform, the sole IoT connectivity management platform in the Philippines, which enables it to support services such as asset management, vehicle tracking, telemetry, point-of-sale management, smart elevators, and other applications.
Villa-Real also told the Contact Islands 2023 forum that beyond network expansion and upgrades, telcos should also be mindful of building redundancies to ensure minimal disruptions during calamities caused by typhoons, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes.
“I think it is incumbent upon telcos, including us at PLDT, to put in investments of resiliency. Of course, it will add to budgets. But at the end of the day, I think the crux of the matter is customer experience,” he added.
PLDT has secured several international certifications for its resilient network facilities, underscoring the group’s capability to deliver services amid disruption. PLDT has also received several certifications, ISO 22301:2019, for its Business Continuity Management System that covers disaster preparedness and response, risk and impact mitigation, and service recovery and restoration plans.
PLDT and Smart First Vice President and Head of Enterprise and International Business Groups Mitch Locsin — who was also at the Contact Islands 2023 forum — said separately that as president of Contact Center Association of the Philippines, his goal is to continue programs which would support the initiatives under the 2028 Industry Roadmap, particularly on government partnerships, talent development, infrastructure for the last mile of Work-From-Home arrangements, and new country/industry marketing program.
Locsin said the initiatives undertaken recently by PLDT Enterprise, including network investments, were meant to establish itself to be the go-to digital ally of the contact center and business process industry.
“Our north star in all that we do in PLDT Enterprise is customer satisfaction. PLDT Enterprise firmly believes that by working closely with our customers, we can go further together,” Locsin said.