Online shopping is continuously growing in the world. With the availability of smartphones and tablets, shopping is just a tap or click away anytime and anywhere. Various online customers has different preference whether to buy or not and what is the time of the day which consumers shop and buy online.
Putting Up Cell Sites in Philippines is Telecom 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.
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.
Location-Based Technology and Mobile Phones – Where Is It Heading?
Location-based technology is becoming quite popular. In mobile devices it is a service that uses geographical location of the mobile phone user to provide services and products suitable to the location. With over 770 million GPS-enabled smartphones in the world the location-based technology is everywhere.
What the technology requires?
The technology can be explored to its full potential in a GPS-enabled smartphone. The location-based service (LBS) requires the users to log their current locations, let them track whereabouts of other users, objects, or place. So, if you are in an unknown city, your phone’s LBS can help you find the nearest restaurant or get you the details of hotels and hospitals nearby. It is thus rendered a very useful technology for the users.
The reach of LBS technology is very far. With it you can instantly learn weather reports or track down planes in flight! There are more you can do with it. Let’s see a few of the ways you can use the location-based data and services are transforming smartphone ecosystem.
- Location-enabled advertisements are quite popular. By tracking down customers in their exact location, it is easy for the marketers to push offers to them directly. This form of direct marketing has been proved to be successful in recent times. Using location-based technology in marketing makes users feel physically close to a business. This in turn gives a significant lift to the click-through rates on mobile banner advertisements. Mobile advertisement trading platforms are reporting a considerable increase in user impressions.
- Location-based features are good for boosting engagement in apps. Looking for examples? There are plenty. Services like Facebook, Yelp, Google, Instagram, and Twitter uses the technology to provide optimum experience to the users.
- The technology is also successful in connecting thousands of small and medium-sized businesses to mobile economy. According to a study by Google, 94% of smartphone owners search for local information. The study further stated that 76% of the smartphone users are interested in business location and operating hours. Furthermore, 61% of the respondent said that they prefer to look for “click to call” businesses.
Are there any downside?
Every technology has its downsides. One of the most obvious downside to location-based services is privacy. You may not be too keen to let everyone know your whereabouts all the time. Excessive reach of privacy by your mobile phone can sometimes turn irritating and annoying. But, once you are there, there is no escape!
Stress is another factor that the users of location-based services face. Every time you change your location, you need to “check-in”. If you are using more than one location-based application, it can really get irritating.
Location-Based Technology and Mobile Phones
However, according to experts, the pros of the technology outweigh the cons. So, if you are planning to invest in location-based services to reach out to your customers – real time in their own pastures, you are doing the right thing. The technology is yet to take pace as it still has not revealed its full potential. Remember, location-based technology offers benefits to the customers, but do not overdo it!
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