Liberty Telecoms Holding has revealed it is looking to invest PHP1.7 billion (USD40 million) this year to expand its WiMAX broadband network in the Philippines. Under the plan Liberty, which markets services under the Wi-Tribe banner, hopes to double its subscriber base by the year end. It currently has more than 48,000 subscribers. According to Liberty’s chairman, Ramon Ang, the firm intends to spend the money on adding at least 200 cell sites to its existing 400 or so operational base stations. Each cell site will require at least USD200,000, he said. The Manila Standard Today writes that in March this year Liberty secured a PHP1.1-billion short-term loan from a local bank to fund its working capital, CAPEX and operational expenses. It is believed the WiMAX provider has drawn down PHP500 million from the loan (end-March 2011), raising its liabilities by 29% to PHP2.45 billion. Mr Ang confirmed the telco’s intention to double its user base by the end of the year, saying Liberty will stick with its current business model which foregrounds a purely mobile broadband offering. To achieve this, the company is focusing its efforts on signing up users in Metro Manila and other major cities.
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