Philippines-based Globe Telecom booked strong profit gains for the first nine months of 2021, as rising data consumption and broadband usage made up for weak mobile growth despite rising prepaid subs and ARPU.

Net profit rose 13 per cent year-on-year in the nine-month period to PHP18 billion ($359.5 million), with total operating revenue increasing 5 per cent to PHP125.6 billion.

President and CEO Ernest Cu said it recorded a resurgent business performance in the third quarter, with “the top-line now back to pre-pandemic levels, despite the continued economic and public mobility challenges, and competitive industry environment”.

Mobile revenue edged up 1 per cent to PHP78.4 billion, negatively impacted by Metro Manila facing a lockdown from August to curb the spread of Covid-19 (coronavirus), and 14 per cent and 17 per cent drops in voice to PHP13.3 billion and SMS to PHP7.2 billion respectively.

Prepaid strength
Mobile data revenue grew 7.8 per cent to PHP57.9 billion, accounting for 74 per cent of mobile turnover, up from 69 per cent in the same period in 2020.

Prepaid subscribers increased 8 per cent from a year earlier to 81.5 million, and post-paid subs dropped 2 per cent to 2.5 million. Prepaid ARPU rose 10 per cent to PHP10; postpaid ARPU was down 2 per cent to PHP834.

Its home broadband business grew 15 per cent to PHP22.4 billion, and corporate data sales rose 11 per cent to PHP10.4 billon.

Capex in the first nine months hit PHP65.3 billion, exceeding last year’s investment of PHP60.3 billion, and representing 58 per cent of total revenue. It installed 1,080 new sites and updated some 12,900 base stations to LTE or 5G.

The operator said 5G outdoor coverage reached 95 per cent of Metro Manila with 1,900 sites at end-September.