Putting up Cell Sites is Telco Industry’s Single Biggest Challenge


Being one of the Asian countries with lowest cell site density, the Philippines is forced to serve more internet users per cell site compared to most of its neighbors. Setting up more telecommunications infrastructure continues to be challenging in the country, hampered by lengthy permit applications and some uncooperative stakeholders.


Latest data from TowerXchange and We Are Social showed that user-per-cell site density in the Philippines is now about 4,036, based on estimates of 16,600 total cell sites against internet users of around 67 million internet users as of first quarter of the year. This shows a stark difference when compared to some of its neighboring countries like India, Indonesia, China, and Vietnam.

India, with 1.459 million cell sites against 462 million internet users, has a user-per-site density of 316. Indonesia, with over 91,700 cell sites against 132.7 million internet users, has a user-per-site density of 1,446. China, with 1.95 million cell sites against 751 million internet users, has a user-per-site density of 384. While Vietnam, with 70,000 cell sites against 64 million internet users, has a user-per-site density of 914.

The disproportionate number of cell sites versus internet users in the Philippines is mainly attributed to difficulties in securing permits from various local government units (LGUs), homeowner associations (HOAs), and other stakeholders, causing considerable delay in the construction of such facilities, Globe Chief Technology and Information Officer Gil Genio said.

For Globe Telecom, more cell sites are needed as its network saw mobile data traffic soar by 49 percent to 641 Petabytes during the first nine months of 2018, from 430 Petabytes recorded in the same period in 2017. As of end September 2018, Globe clocked in 65.4 million mobile customers, the majority of which are internet users. For instance, around 246,700 Globe active customers in Cotabato City in Maguindanao are forced to share only 13 cell sites. This shows the urgent need to build more towers in order to serve the current data traffic that continuously grows exponentially over the past months.

“Consumer demand for mobile data is growing at an explosive rate. This means more and more cellular towers have to be deployed to keep up with the demand. But deployment is only the final step to a potentially long, costly site acquisition process,” Genio said.

Lengthy permits

To cater to the rising demand for data, Globe has been accelerating the deployment of cell sites across the Philippines. This is part of its initiative to continue building on its network capacities for better quality of internet experience. But in the absence of regulations on the construction of passive telecommunications infrastructure, LGUs impose their own requirements, slowing down the deployment of cell sites.

Aside from LGU permits, HOAs, exclusive subdivisions, and building administrators also impose certain guidelines and requirements based on Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) Resolution No. R-626 issued in 1998. From negotiations and documentation of prospective cell site location to securing structural permits and approvals, Globe estimates an average of eight months and over 25 permits before it can build one cellular tower.

Non-present health risks

Several exclusive villages and HOAs in the Philippines also refuse to have network-boosting cell sites deployed in their vicinity because of unfounded health risk linked with exposure to radiation emitted from cell sites.

Global authorities in radiation safety, like Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and World Health Organization (WHO), have affirmed that proximity to cell sites does not cause any known health risks, contrary to what many HOAs and exclusive villages in the country believe. Even the Department of Health has taken all the necessary precautions in ensuring that the Philippine standard of thermal emissions from local cell sites are at least four times lower than what has been approved globally.

In a bid to bring the Philippines closer to first-world internet connectivity, Globe continues to push for cooperation among all stakeholders, from the public sector, down to the barangay level,  property developers, and homeowners.


CDO Bloggers 10 and Fabulous!

The first time I engaged into blogging was February of 2009 when a church mate and a cousin inspired me to start one (Thanks to Ate Lalaine and Pinay Mommy Online). I then attended the Mindanao Bloggers Summit way back October 24, 2009 and happened to meet the pioneering's of CDO Bloggers. I was not that active back then but I already joined the premier blogging organization of Cagayan de Oro after a month.

Fast forward....

Voila!!! I never thought I was part of this organization for almost a decade now! Simply Amazing! 

A week ago (November 17, 2018), CDO Bloggers recently concluded our first Bloggers Ball themed: “Rebels in Black & Gold: The CDO Bloggers 10th Anniversary Bloggers Ball”. Though our ball was not the typical kind of ball hold in a very prestigious hotels with a sumptuous fine-dining thingy. Ours is different, it was done out of passion, determination, dedication and hard work from the officers and of course the generosity from our beloved sponsors.


Everyone in the organization was so excited for this long awaited event which was finally realized after years of planning and brainstorming. The night was full of fun and glamour when the members and guests were on their best Black and Gold themed dress! So nice to look at that everyone was so prepared for the ball night! 
the TERs in their glamorous black and gold themed


The Program Proper

The program started with an opening prayer led by Ms Judy Teves and was welcomed by our VP for events Ms Ruby Caberte...

the photos below will tell on itself....

Mike Abonitalla shared the history of the org on how they started....
raffles were given in between's..thanks to our generous sponsors...

the crostini bar from Restaurant Damaso
our President Ms. Maia giving her closing remarks...thanking the sponsors...

The Highlight....

I happened to meet our keynote speaker up-close for the first time and I could say that he is a cool politician... No other than Atty. Rufus B. Rodriguez~ the Congressman of the 2nd District of Cagayan de Oro!

He admitted that he is new to the social media thing.  Sharing to you some highlights of his speech...

The dissemination of information was difficult, because you can only reach a few of your constituents that way. Today, blogging and social media are bringing the people and communities together such that timely and relevant information is shared between us, their representatives in the government, and them, our constituents.
 The bloggers are close to my heart because like me, you work hard on writing about something relevant that you feel should be shared to others for the common good. I know how hard it is to think of a topic, to research it, to weave your own thoughts into the topic, to edit, to re-edit, to re-edit the edited before sending it out into the world. I know what it feels like when someone tells you your writing is not good enough. And I know what it takes to keep on writing despite that. And I share with you that wonderful feeling when your words have caused people to think or to take action or to talk about an issue.
 The CDO Bloggers group is now on its 10th year and you have already proven yourself in the digital world. You will become increasingly relevant not just in Cagayan de Oro, but in the entire Philippines in the coming years. And I hope that, kung malooy ang Ginoo ug tabangan ako ninyo, I will become a Congressman again, I will be able to work with you so together we can ensure that bloggers will be given technical assistance through trainings and funding for projects and activities so you can continue to make positive impact in society.
Thank you so much Atty. Rufus Rodriguez for the precious time you spent with us and for imparting and encouraging us with your words of wisdom to continue what we've started. I salute you Sir as a person and my long time wanting to be a lawyer was awakened that night. *hoping* 

Strike a pose with our Keynote Speaker Atty Rufus Rodriguez


 Event Sponsors:

  • Atty. Rufus Bautista Rodriguez 
  • SM CDO Downtown Premier for our venue (especially Ms. Ivy Guantero) 
  • Restaurant Damaso for the uber delicious crostini bar 
  • Centrio Mall (for the Robinsons gift certificates) 
  • N Hotel (for the overnight stay gift certificate) 
  • Ororama (for the gift certificates) 
  • StreetBy (for the gift cards) 
  • Smart (for the delicioso porchetta) 
  • Krispy Kreme (for the four dozen Original Glaze doughnuts) 
  • Louie Yee for the projector and screen 
  • Vital Audio (for saving us with their lights – and for the audio system) 
  • Odyssey Airport Vans (for transporting our non-CDO-based bloggers) 
  • John Teves for the photos 

Thanks also  to our friends KC and Alvin of The Explorer’s Channel, Kim of CDO Dev, Dave of Urban Life-Mindanao Gold Star Daily, Manolo Fortich Bloggers Association (Lee, Heterae, and Keinly), and Iligan Bloggers Society (Xy-Za) for, celebrating your glamorous night with us!
CDO Bloggers members and guests
Once again, thank you CDO Bloggers (Officers) for making this event possible, indeed, it was a successful one!

The Officers..ooppss!! insert Edu

TJxKZ Concert in CdO!

Wow! As in, I was in awe during the concert of TJ Monterde (proud Kagay-anon) and KZ Tandingan  (proud Davaoena) last Saturday, February 17, 2018. The Atrium was all jammed-packed with their supporters from Luzon to Mindanao.

The Kagay-anons were all excited to hear from KZ's "Rolling In The Deep" version which she bagged as the #1 Singer 2018 in China last February 9, 2018. And so true, we were able to hear it from her singing live...

 

Indeed, she has the powerful voice that everyone would love to appreciate...

The concert was all worth the price since the people did enjoy the night and had so much fun. TJ's charm draws the crowd and KZ's naturally born entertainer (sense of humor) makes the night more lively! No boring moments with the lovely couple.






Another hit song sung by KZ..."Two Less Lonely People" from the movie Kita-Kita...



Thanks VIVO Philippines for bringing them here and letting us here the powerful voice of #TJxKZ!