Monday, February 22, 2021

PLDT, DITO Sign Interconnection Deal



The country’s largest integrated telecommunications company PLDT and telco newcomer DITO have recently entered into an agreement for the construction of a transmission facility that will serve as the point of interconnection for their subscribers.


Under the agreement, PLDT will establish and manage the interconnection facility that will operate as the primary physical interface for both companies.


PLDT Chief Revenue Officer and Smart Communications President and CEO Al Panlilio emphasized how “it is important for us that we establish this interconnection capability between PLDT-Smart and the customers of DITO as mandated by the NTC, and principally to make sure that our customers are able to communicate."


“During this pandemic, technology has been a lifeline for our customers so we want to make sure that our connectivity is solid in helping our fellow Filipinos and the entire nation during these critical times. We thank DITO for this partnership and I am looking forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship," he added.


Through PLDT’s technology and expertise, the interconnection hub will deliver the intercarrier requirements of DITO which will benefit all fixed and wireless subscribers of PLDT and DITO by enabling them to communicate and connect to all the services needed.


The planned facility is expected to be completed by end-March in time for the commercial operations of DITO.


DITO Telecommunity Chairman and CEO Dennis Uy shared during the virtual signing how “being chosen as the country’s third player, DITO knew from day 1 that in order for us to deliver our commitment to the Filipino, we needed to work hand-in-hand with the pioneers of the telco industry like PLDT. I’d like to express my gratitude to everyone in making the interconnection agreement between DITO and PLDT possible.”


“It’s been a privilege to work alongside all of you in providing the Philippines with the world-class connectivity that we all deserve,” Uy added.


PLDT has been heavily investing in its network and expanding its coverage to service more businesses and consumers, both in the country and abroad. Currently, PLDT operates the most expansive fiber optic network among local ISPs reaching over 429,000 kilometers.


Collectively, the PLDT Group has spent over Php 286 billion in the last five years which further boosted its network coverage to benefit more subscribers, helped the nation manage and cope amid the global pandemic, and accelerated the roll out of more digital services including the roll out of 5G.

 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Cebu Landmasters Launches Iconic Tower And Home Of Sofitel Cebu City, To Open In 2025



In anticipation of a robust economic recovery in the next few years, leading VisMin developer Cebu Landmasters unveils an iconic tower planned by the designers of the world’s most acclaimed skyscrapers, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) in tandem with one of the country’s top architects GF Partners and Architects.


Masters Tower Cebu, set to be completed in 2025, will offer prime office and retail spaces and the first five-star luxury hotel in the Queen City of the South. Sofitel Cebu City will be operated by multinational chain Accor, a world leading hospitality group headquartered in France.


The tower is Cebu Landmasters' most iconic architectural structure to date, building a towering crown-like structure to represent the “Queen City of the South”.


The development valued at over Php4 billion will rise on a 2,840 sqm property considered to be the remaining prime corner lot in the Cebu Business Park, Cebu City’s prestigious central business district.




The architectural masterpiece will top-off at 192 meters above sea level and will be among the top three tallest structures in the metropolis. It will have a structural height of 172 meters high, with an architectural design inspired by the best of Cebuano creativity and craftsmanship, and with sustainability as one of its cornerstones having been conceptualized to use energy and resources efficiently and responsibly.


Groundbreaking of the LEED-registered Masters Tower Cebu is slated for the second quarter of 2021. CLI is aiming for the building’s LEED Gold certification.


“This project is the culmination of our learnings as a full-line developer catering to a range of markets in one of the most dynamic regions of the country,” disclosed Jose Soberano III, CLI CEO. We want to build this project for Cebu, to show our positive outlook for this growth city,” he adds.


Following the firm’s double-digit growth in 2020 despite the pandemic, Soberano disclosed that Masters Tower Cebu looks forward to the upsurge of the local economy and the return of international travellers to the South.




The tower’s office spaces from the 8th to the 12th floor anticipate the needs of locators who value efficiency and sustainability and keenly follow global trends. The spaces will highlight horizontal louvers to reduce solar heat by almost 70% and to create a comfortable work environment. In addition to the louvers that reflect Cebuano craftsmanship, sky gardens in every floor and throughout the LEED-registered building will enhance the well-being of its occupants.


Sustainability will further be reflected in the design of the 14th to the 32nd floors which will house the luxury hotel with 195 guest rooms, a grand ballroom, 2 restaurants, executive lounge, meeting rooms, roof deck, swimming pool, gym and spa.


A sunlit Sofitel Cebu City sky lobby on the 16th floor will maximize natural lighting through the use of an internal atrium. Guest rooms enhanced by the greenery from the gardens on each floor will create a retreat within the city. Finally, the roof deck will offer 360-degree views of Cebu and its surroundings.


Soberano explained that Masters Tower Cebu is part of CLI’s growing hotel portfolio in partnership with a number of global hotel chains that will be significantly contributing to its revenues in the next three to four years.


He emphasized: “We are optimistic that the hospitality industry will bounce back particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao where there is high potential for more international hotel players and tourism demands for quality hospitality experiences. Masters Tower Cebu ensures that CLI will be a key player in that space, and be in the forefront of the industry’s recovery.”

Sunday, February 7, 2021

CLI Retains Market Leadership In VisMin, Study Reveals

CLI's new inventory for 2020 was 70.6% sold, mostly attributed to the listed company's flagship brand Casa Mira. The brand is known for its generous amenities and the consistent services provided by CLI's property management arm to residents. Above is an architect's perspective of Casa Mira Iloilo, one of the nine new projects launched by CLI in 2020


A recent market study by Santos Knight Frank (SKF) named Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) as the leading residential developer in the Visayas and Mindanao in 2020 with the largest market share from among real estate firms providing condominium projects and subdivisions in the region.


The study disclosed that CLI accounted for 18,683 units or 12% of the available 86,126 units in VisMin pulling ahead of developers operating nationwide based on Q3 2020 data. Its closest rivals were Sta. Lucia Realty and Development and Camella Homes, at 11,897 units and 11,768 units, respectively.


The SKF study also revealed that the most saleable VisMin projects were by CLI which exhibited an absorption rate of 83% and sales take up of 210 units a month. The listed firm recently announced record reservation sales of Php14.25 billion in 2020 accounting for 5,300 units sold across key cities in the region despite pandemic conditions.


Franco Soberano, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of CLI noted: “The high sales velocity of our projects even at the height of the lockdowns in key cities verify a deeply felt need especially among VisMin economic and mid-income earners to own their own homes. We intend to continue fulfilling this need in 2021 with 8,000 more units in 15 residential projects in Cebu, Ormoc, Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Davao.”


Above is an architect's perspective of Casa Mira Homes Dumaguete, one of the nine new projects launched by CLI in 2020


A market study by Leechiu Property Consultants corroborated that the VisMin housing backlog would be at 2.85 million houses by 2022 with an average annual demand of 475,000 new housing units. Of this number, 200,000 mid and economic housing units are needed per year.


But only a handful of the current top 10 VisMin developers in 2020 are likely to maximize opportunities provided by the mid and economic income segment in 2021 and beyond. A number of these developers extended project completion and turnover dates due to the pandemic, the study discloses.


Soberano explained that by mid-year 2020, CLI’s housing inventory was similarly at risk of being overtaken by strong demand. But the firm leaned on its strategic relationships with local stakeholders including local government units to minimize delays in planning and construction. Thus, it succeeded in rolling out nine new projects with 4,300 units in Bohol, Iloilo, Dumaguete and Davao. By year-end, 70.6% of the company’s new inventory mostly bearing the flagship brand Casa Mira had been sold out. The brand is known for its generous amenities and the consistent services provided by CLI’s property management arm to residents.


During the year, CLI further boosted its digital capabilities to satisfy intensifying buyer inquiries. It digitized end-to-end transactions through various channels which showcase all of the company’s developments throughout VisMin. A buyer can now select an available property in any of the 15 CLI cities in the region, check on construction progress, get real-time response to queries, join events, among many others – all online.


Soberano noted: “The year 2020 opened our eyes further to how high the demand truly is for quality housing in VisMin,” noted Soberano, “and we hope to build on our growth momentum to satisfy this great need.” 

Sunday, January 31, 2021

Spread The Love With Miniso



Japanese fast-fashion brand Miniso celebrates love and life this Valentine’s Day with adorable finds that make perfect gifts in this season of love.


There are pastel-colored heart shape pillows with embossed sweet Valentine’s messages to hug and to hold. Express your love and care through the power of words with Miniso’s Valentine’s inspired notebooks and pens.


Keep your loved ones cool and hydrated with We Bear Bears water tumblers and Cookie Monster water bottles.


Spread the love to your special someone as well as family and friends with these heartwarming gifts from Miniso. All these and more are available in Miniso stores located in most SM Supermalls nationwide.


Check out some of the items you can shop now:















For a more convenient shopping experience, you can also check out these Miniso items and more at Shopee, Lazada and Miniso Philippines’ Official Website- https://shop.minisoph.com/.

For more updates you can also follow @MinisoPhilippines at Facebook and Instagram


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Globe’s Pervasive 4G LTE Network Meets Increased Mobile Data Demand



As the demand for mobile data grows and daily activities shift online, Globe’s wide-reaching 4G LTE network has helped to facilitate better connectivity, business continuity and enhanced productivity nationwide. 


Globe has ramped up its network upgrades with the objective of establishing 4G LTE as the Philippine standard for mobile internet.


“Now more than ever, access to the internet is crucial for all Filipinos. We all deserve higher speeds and better connectivity, and this is why Globe has built up 4G LTE as the basic mobile internet technology that ensures a better data experience for everyone,” said Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Delivery, Network Technical Group.


Agustin added that 4G and 5G are designed and better suited for internet use -- from video streaming and browsing to various digital applications.


“Customers who still use 3G for mobile data are therefore encouraged to shift to 4G in order to see and feel the difference.”


4G is the fourth generation of wireless mobile telecommunications technology. It was launched in the late 2000’s and produces much faster speeds than 3G. 4G is able to support video streaming and video conferencing of better quality. LTE, or Long Term Evolution, is a type of 4G.


Globe’s aggressive network expansion, which included the upgrading of 11,544 sites to 4G LTE, has significantly improved the Philippines’ 4G experience even during peak hours. This was evident in a report of international mobile analytics firm Opensignal covering August to October 2020, which showed the Globe network’s significant improvements in 4G Download Speeds, 4G Latency Experience and 4G Video Experience.


In terms of 4G Download Speeds, Opensignal found that Globe peaks at over 19 mbps with average 4G Download Speeds observed by users over the course of the day being more than sufficient for web browsing and apps usage. For Latency Experience, Globe is likewise inching closer to competition with its best score peaking at a low of 36ms (lower score is better) within the day. According to the report, Latency “is a measure of the time it takes for data packets to travel across the network between a user’s mobile phone and the servers that host mobile apps and websites.”


Globe’s 4G Video Experience is likewise pulling up consistently with a maximum score of 50. 4G Video Experience measures network quality for streaming HD or SD videos on platforms like Youtube and other video on demand apps.


Globe is furthermore upgrading several cities in Visayas and Mindanao to 4G LTE technology. The company will replace its old 3G equipment with 5G-ready 4G LTE infrastructure in Iloilo City, Boracay, Bacolod City, Davao City, Cebu City, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu in Visayas; and in Davao City and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.


This is in addition to the already upgraded networks in 199 cities and towns in Metro Manila, Rizal, Quezon, Albay, Oriental Mindoro, Bataan, Leyte, Agusan del Sur, and Pampanga among others.


The company has also expanded the reach of its 5G network to 1,045 sites nationwide. Its recent upgrades towards the end of 2020 have made the latest wireless internet technology, capable of even faster speeds and higher bandwidth, available in at least 848 sites in Metro Manila and Rizal, and 183 locations in Visayas and Mindanao. Several parts of Cavite, Laguna and Bulacan are also 5G-enabled.


With the proliferation of more affordable 5G-enabled devices, Globe is encouraging its  customers, especially those using the old 3G SIM cards to upgrade to 5G-ready 4G LTE SIM cards and 5G-enabled mobile devices so they may fully enjoy and experience the wonderful benefits and advantages of 5G. 



SIM change is free at any Globe Stores and customers will retain their old number. For security reasons, customers are advised to upgrade their SIM at the Globe Store only.



For more information, please go to: https://www.globe.com.ph/help/mobile-internet/lte/faqs.html


Customers who wish to upgrade their mobile devices can also check online at https://shop.globe.com.ph/devices/5g-mobile-phones  for  the most affordable 4G/LTE and 5G devices available.


Globe is carrying out a three-pronged strategy for network upgrades and expansion, which includes aggressive cell site builds; upgrading its cell sites to 4G/LTE using many different frequencies; and fast-tracking the fiberization of Filipino homes nationwide.

The company likewise supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically UNSDG No. 9 which recognizes the importance of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development. Globe has vowed to uphold the 10 United Nations Global Compact principles and 10 UN SDGs.

For more information, visit www.globe.com.ph.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

PayMaya's Largest Footprint Of Over 200K Touchpoints Enables Cashless For All Filipinos



Digital financial services leader PayMaya is leading the charge toward financial inclusion as it expands its footprint to reach over 200,000 touchpoints nationwide, the largest network in the country to date.


Filipinos can easily pay, add money, cash out, or remit using their PayMaya accounts through these accessible touchpoints that include convenience stores, retail merchants, groceries, department stores, food outlets, pawnshops, and Smart Padala centers, among others.


“As PayMaya continues to lead the push towards cashless for all Filipinos, it is important for us to provide them with the most expansive and reliable on-ground channels that allow them to do safe and convenient financial transactions, no matter where they are in the country,” said Shailesh Baidwan, President of PayMaya.

We have built this robust ecosystem of touchpoints to help ensure that there are easily available and trusted avenues for our customers to add, transact, or move money for all their day-to-day needs,” he added.

Unrivaled network of trusted touchpoints

PayMaya account holders need not travel very far to city centers as PayMaya’s unrivaled on-ground network of over 37,000 Smart Padala partner agent touchpoints serves as last-mile financial hubs, enabling lifeline transactions amid COVID-19 quarantine restrictions.

PayMaya’s unrivaled network of on-ground and digital touchpoints is six times larger than the combined 12,371 bank branches and 22,162 ATM terminals currently operating across the country.

Smart Padala agents are present even in the farthest reaches of the country, covering over 92% of all cities and municipalities nationwide. In a country where banking presence is limited to only 69% of all cities and municipalities, Smart Padala agents are connecting unbanked and underserved Filipinos to the digital economy, offering remittance, bills payment, add money, cash out, and scan-to-pay transactions.

PayMaya also taps into its network of trusted enterprise merchants, including MSMEs using its PayMaya Negosyo app for payment acceptance.

PayMaya's vast ecosystem of merchants, payment centers, and financial agents have become critical particularly in the government’s push to provide financial aid to those severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and various natural disasters in the past year.

By sending financial aid to their PayMaya accounts, beneficiaries can easily use the funds in PayMaya QR partner merchants or encash via the nearest Smart Padala centers in their area, making it faster and more convenient for them to get their everyday essentials.

“PayMaya has become a lifeline to many people during the pandemic, and we’re seeing it become even more essential for consumers, businesses, and the government in the years to come,” Baidwan explained.

PayMaya is the only end-to-end digital payments ecosystem enabler in the Philippines with platforms and services that cut across consumers, merchants, communities, and government. Through its enterprise business, it is the largest digital payments processor for key industries in the country including "everyday" merchants such as the largest retail, food, gas, and eCommerce merchants as well as government agencies and units.

Through its app and wallet, PayMaya provides over 28 million Filipinos with access to financial services. Customers can conveniently pay, add money, cash out or remit through its over 200,000 digital touchpoints nationwide.

Its Smart Padala by PayMaya network of over 37,000 partner agent touchpoints nationwide serves as last-mile digital financial hubs in communities, providing the unbanked and underserved with access to digital services. To know more about PayMaya's products and services, visit www.PayMaya.com or follow @PayMayaOfficial on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.




Monday, January 25, 2021

Globe Leads In Telco Builds, Tower Construction



Globe led in telco infrastructure builds and tower construction over its competitors based on a report by the National Telecommunications Commission to Malacanang.


The latest NTC data showed Globe built 786 new towers from July to December 2020 despite challenges posed by the pandemic. On the other hand, competition built 323 towers. The ramped up builds were made possible through the enabling laws Bayanihan Act II and the Joint Memorandum Circular (JMC) No. 01 s. 2020 signed by ARTA, DICT, DILG, and other government agencies that mandated the easing of permitting processes.


The Ayala-led telco was able to secure a total of 2,089 permits during this period.


The latest NTC data showed Globe has a total of 10,395 tower sites as of December 2020, while competition had 10,079 and 2,360 towers respectively.


“There has really been an increase in the tower roll out and I think this is the positive response to the Joint Memorandum Circular we have done as well to the President’s directive in easing up permits for the towers. We have seen a dramatic increase in the tower rollout.  Pag dumami po ang kanilang mga torre, gaganda rin po ang signal  natin na masasagap sa internet,” said DICT Usec. Emmanuel Rey Caintic.


Based on the NTC data, there are 22,834 cell towers or cell sites in the country. In comparison, Vietnam has 90,000 towers based on TowerXchange data as of November 2020.


With the progress made by telcos especially in terms of internet speed improvements and the country’s improving ranking within the ASEAN region, the DICT continues to urge telcos to continue with their aggressive builds.


“Tuloy-tuloy ang push, tuloy tuloy ang pressure ni Presidente sa mga telco, do not relent on the press, full court press kumbaga,” Caintic added.


“We remain committed to improving the voice and data experience of our customers.  This year we are doing a record amount of investment on capex to upgrade our network, build more cell sites and accelerate fiber rollouts to homes. We are using the most advanced technologies like 5G to provide our customers with a #FirstWorldNetwork experience,” Globe’s President and CEO Ernest Cu said.


Globe laid out a 3-pronged strategy to improve customer data and internet experience, which includes aggressive cell site builds; upgrading its cell sites to 4G/LTE using various frequencies; and fast tracking the fiberization of Filipino homes nationwide.


Globe supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, specifically  UN SDG No. 9 which emphasizes the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development. Globe is committed to upholding the 10 United Nations Global Compact principles and 10 UN SDGs.