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In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review  Asia Pacific, Edith  Gomez-Cudiamat, Chief  Operating Officer of  PLDT Global Corporation,  shared insights into the company’s strategic initiatives. Focusing on key segments and partnerships, PLDT  Global aims to bolster global connectivity,  enhance digital offerings, and strengthen relationships with carriers, hyperscalers, and overseas Filipinos.

What will be the primary business focus of PLDT Global in the upcoming year?

As we play a vital role in the PLDT  group’s international strategy,  PLDT Global aims to expand its global connectivity, focusing on key segments like enterprises, content aggregators, hyperscalers, and carriers while enhancing international consumer services for overseas  Filipinos. With a strong regional presence in Hong Kong, China,  Singapore, Malaysia, the U.S., Japan,  and the UK, we deliver customized solutions and directly manage customer relationships. Aligned with PLDT’s broader goal to serve Filipinos globally, our international consumer program targets Filipinos living overseas with relevant digital products and services.  Our robust digital distribution platform enhances these efforts, supported by strategic partnerships that cater to the evolving needs of our customers and partners.

Strengthening our relationships with carrier partners is crucial to support the PLDT group’s international voice, roaming, messaging, and data connectivity services. We will continuously pursue transformative partnerships with key players and adopt new technologies and practices,  ensuring seamless integration and deliver innovative solutions.

Can you elaborate on the recent technological advancements and infrastructure developments implemented by PLDT Global?

Our parent company, PLDT, operates the Philippines’ most extensive fiber infrastructure, with robust international network capacity spanning more than  1.1 million cable kilometers as of the end of March 2024, including 900,000  kilometers of domestic cable and  200,000 kilometers of international cable. This robust network allows  PLDT Global to support transformative journeys for clients. PLDT Global is expanding and enhancing its regional points-of-presence (PoPs) with diverse routes and regional resilience.  PLDT Global manages and supports PLDT’s 15 subsea cable systems, maintaining high-speed,  reliable internet access, reinforcing the Philippines’ position in the international digital landscape. PLDT  Global is investing in platforms and capabilities to ensure that far-end network infrastructure is kept at the highest availability rate to support customer demands in the Philippines and internationally.

PLDT Global has also adopted full cloud operations for its in-house built digital distribution platform— VORTEX. This robust platform now houses more than 200 consumer  SKUs, over a dozen payment gateways and fulfillment partners supporting the global B2B2C program. Through this platform, regional ecommerce operators requiring Philippine digital products are connected seamlessly and securely. 

Participating in the digital trade,  we have also launched our own marketplace called TINBO which aims to directly serve global Filipinos’  fintech and commerce needs. TINBO  now enables global consumers from over 30 countries to pay bills, purchase e-gifts, and use electronic loading services. Additionally, TINBO offers digital mobile identity to Filipinos overseas through the Smart Virtual  Number.

PLDT Global boasts an impressive network infrastructure, fiber optic cables, and international submarine cable networks, including connectivity to data centers. How does the company ensure that these infrastructures remain adaptable to the evolving demands of customers across diverse geographical locations?

PLDT’s extensive network infrastructure of 15 submarine cables including Jupiter, AAG, ASE, and  APCN2, upcoming projects like Apricot and the Asia Direct Cable, and five cable landing stations in La Union,  Batangas, Baler, Daet and Davao form the backbone of PLDT Global’s core regional network. This resilient and scalable network meets the high-capacity bandwidth demands of Tier-1 carriers, hyperscalers and global enterprises. 

PLDT Global invests in regional network expansion and modernization and partners with service providers and data center operators to deliver end-to-end connectivity solutions,  extending our reach into key markets across Australia, Taiwan, South Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, and  Europe. These initiatives expand our global footprint, offering superior connectivity options.

The unveiling of our Guam Point-of-Presence (PoP) this year highlights our proactive approach and commitment to innovation as we anticipate the growing demand for alternate routes between the Asia  Pacific and North America.

By futureproofing our network infrastructure, PLDT Global is committed to advancing network capabilities to address the evolving demands of our customers.

As a market leader, what strategies do you employ to leverage the  Philippines’ potential as a digital hub in Asia? How does this contribute to your vision of transforming the country into a hyperscale hub? 

According to S&P Global Market  Intelligence, the Philippines’ significant investments in high-capacity networks and data center facilities position it as a promising hyperscale hub. With growing demand for cloud services, the country’s strategic location and skilled IT professionals attract multinational companies seeking reliable digital infrastructure. This status enhances the digital economy, improving connectivity and technological solutions across Southeast Asia.

Over the last decade, PLDT has invested heavily in expanding and enhancing its network infrastructure, supporting the  Philippines’ role as a key hyperscale investment hub.PLDT Global, in collaboration with ePLDT, the ICT  subsidiary of PLDT Group, and its data center arm, VITRO Inc, leads market development efforts to attract key locators to the Philippines’ largest and first true hyperscale data center in Santa  Rosa, Laguna.

VITRO Inc. operates the largest network of data centers in the Philippines,  including the forthcoming VITRO Sta. Rosa, set to double its capacity to 99.5  megawatts. This initiative is crucial to transforming the Philippines into a hyperscale hub.

By leveraging cutting-edge technology and world-class facilities, PLDT Global drives forward-looking projects,  strengthening our industry leadership and positioning the Philippines as a premier destination for digital innovation and investment.

Could you elaborate on any ongoing collaborations and partnerships that have significantly contributed to PLDT  Global’s service quality and long-term objectives?

PLDT Global has forged strategic partnerships with industry leaders like Equinix, AWS, and Google Cloud,  enhancing our service portfolio with cloud services, connectivity, and data center solutions. These collaborations ensure access to the best technology and infrastructure for our clients.

For international voice services, we have teamed up with top carriers to deliver reliable, clear, and cost-effective voice solutions worldwide. One notable collaboration is our collaboration with Saudi-based, stc Group. The PLDT  Global–stc partnership focuses on delivering secure and high-quality international voice service experience to Filipinos living overseas, as well as enterprise customers.

Another noteworthy collaboration is our partnership with GTA, the leading telecommunications and digital infrastructure provider in Guam.  GTA’s GNC iX Data Center has been selected for PLDT Global’s Guam  PoP, enabling us to provide a resilient route from the Philippines and Asia Pacific to the US.

This not only benefits PLDT Global but also contributes to the growth of Guam’s data center industry,  positioning the island as a hub for resilient, high-capacity connectivity.  With GTA’s GNC Data Center as a key point of presence, Guam solidifies its position in the Asia Pacific region as an essential hub in global telecommunications, furthering PLDT  Global’s commitment to growth,  innovation, and the advancement of global connectivity.

PLDT Global also actively collaborates with the Department of  Migrant Workers (DMW) to launch initiatives that directly benefit overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).  Our partnership aims to enhance the welfare and connectivity of Filipinos abroad, allowing them to access essential services seamlessly. One of the key features of this partnership is the integration of our communication services with DMW’s programs,  which includes providing OFWs with vital information and support through our digital platforms. This initiative ensures that the rights and needs of OFWs are prioritized,  and they receive timely assistance wherever they are in the world. We also empower OFW beneficiaries through our various reintegration and upskilling programs, enabling them to successfully navigate the new chapter of their lives when they return to the Philippines for good.

Moreover, PLDT Global supports the Overseas Workers Welfare  Administration (OWWA) through the OWWA Helpline 1348, a critical resource for OFWs needing assistance and advice. This hotline is accessible through our TINBO  (Tindahan ni Bossing) platform,  where OFWs can make free calls to seek help on various concerns ranging from employment issues to emergency response. The availability of this service plays a crucial role in our commitment to ensuring the safety and well-being of OFWs,  providing them with a reliable and immediate line of communication to  OWWA’s support services especially during emergencies, just like earthquakes and disasters.

TINBO, PLDT Global’s digital marketplace, has been instrumental in bridging the gap between Filipinos living overseas and access to  Philippine products and services.  Launched to cater specifically to the needs of the global Filipino community, TINBO has rapidly grown to include a wide range of services,  from e-commerce to telco solutions and bills payment. 

In addition, PLDT Global has teamed up with Ding, a global mobile top-up platform, for the international distribution of prepaid load and electronic gift cards. This partnership expands our reach and enables overseas Filipinos to conveniently recharge their prepaid phones and send e-gifts to their loved ones back home.

These strategic partnerships are essential to PLDT Global’s mission:  to deliver comprehensive, innovative,  and high-quality services that meet the evolving needs of our customers and partners worldwide.

How does PLDT Global align with governmental visions for improved connectivity and the promotion of the ICT industry? Are there any notable partnerships or initiatives that PLDT Global has embarked on with the government that you could highlight?

PLDT Global is deeply aligned with the government’s vision to improve connectivity and ICT industry growth. By actively participating in initiatives such as the GDP Partnership and the TINBO for OFWs and DMW Partnership, PLDT Global is upholding this vision.

PLDT Global’s initiatives are fundamental to the PLDT group’s support of the GoDigital Pilipinas  (GDP) movement, which aims to drive digitalization. GDP is an initiative pioneered by the government-mandated Presidential Private Sector  Advisory Council (PSAC), of which  PLDT is a founding member under the Digital Infrastructure pillar. In collaboration with the government,  PLDT and Smart spearhead this initiative, aiming to enhance connectivity and tech accessibility across various sectors including education, healthcare, and public services. By aligning our resources with the government’s objectives, we foster a digitally empowered nation capable of thriving in the global digital economy. This partnership serves as a cornerstone of our strategy to integrate digital solutions into the national infrastructure,  significantly contributing to the ongoing digital revolution in the  Philippines.

Additionally, our platform, TINBO, is specifically designed to serve the needs of OFWs by bringing them closer to home. Our partnership with the DMW enhances the reach and impact of our services for OFWs. 

Through these initiatives, PLDT  Global demonstrates its unwavering commitment to nation-building.

What are the long-term impacts of  PLDT Global’s current initiatives on the Philippine community, both locally and abroad?

PLDT Global and our parent company, PLDT, are dedicated to continuously improving and expanding our network infrastructure.  These include forging collaborations and partnerships with global providers, enhancing our data center capabilities, and expanding our subsea cable networks. Together,  these efforts significantly strengthen our network’s resilience, creating opportunities, improving connectivity,  and helping uplift the quality of life for Filipinos. Our initiatives ensure that Filipinos, no matter where they are, can access high-quality, reliable communication services.

These developments have significant benefits that reach beyond the  Philippines’ borders, particularly impacting Filipinos living and working overseas. Through our digital innovation and advanced technology,  global Filipinos can maintain strong connections with their loved ones back home, fostering emotional well-being and social cohesion and making distances feel shorter.  Our efforts aim to not only improve technological access and efficiency but also enrich the lives of every  Filipino, reinforcing their ties to their homeland regardless of where they are in the world.



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