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PHL telcos scramble to get service back 100% in typhoon-hit Visayas

November 12, 2013 5:14pm

Telecommunications companies are scrambling to get service back to normal in Central Philippines, four days after Super Typhoon Yolanda – the strongest in recorded history – walloped the region and left a large swathe of destruction in its wake.
“We’re stepping up the deployment of network equipment to more areas so that we can rapidly restore services at strategic areas, such as dense population centers, relief operations centers and vital facilities like airports,” said Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT and Smart Public Affairs group head.
As of noon Tuesday, Smart Communications Inc. and Sun Cellular operator Digitel Mobile Philippines Inc. restored 82 percent of  network services in the Visayas.
The latest report from Globe Telecom Inc. showed the telco was able to reactivate up to  54 percent of  base stations in the typhoon-stricken areas, as of 6 a.m. Tuesday.
In Samar and Leyte provinces, Globe said it restored 30 cell sites – 21 in Samar and 9 in Leyte – excluding temporary cell site in Tacloban City.
Network service is 100 back to normal in Palawan, except in Coron where only 50 of the service has so far been restored, according to Smart.
Globe said it raised the number of its Libreng Tawag and Libreng Charging stations to 12 different sites to include Roxas City, Iloilo, Romblon and Antique.
There are 28 Libreng Charging stations in Ormoc, Leyte, Bohol and Antique, and Globe said it is likewise providing Libreng Internet operations in Antique, undertaken in coordination with the Red Cross. 
Globe major shareholder SingTel vowed to give 50,000 Singaporean dollars for the Philippine telco's relief operations.
Australia’s Optus, on the other hand, donated 150 satellite phones so Globe can improve coordination and speed up efforts to restore service and relief operations.
Smart and Digitel Mobile said they started Libreng Tawag in Borongan, Samar using Smart Satellite Services in partnership with Thuraya Satellite as first-line communications to residents even without power or regular mobile connections.
In Tacloban City, PLDT said Smart and Digitel Mobile expanded the Libreng Tawag service to four sites which was enabled by a second cellsite in the  airport area – boosting the signal that was made available Monday morning in the downtown area.
Free mobile phone battery charging services are also available at the Smart cellsite in Roxas City in Capiz and Smart cellsite in Old Buswang, Kalibo, Aklan, said PLDT. – VS, GMA News
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