Philippines telecoms operator PLDT recorded another quarter of solid growth in its mobile business in Q3, with continued gains in subscriber numbers and data usage positioning it for a long-term recovery.

Manuel Pangilinan, chairman and CEO of PLDT (pictured, centre), said the company recorded its highest-ever nine-month revenue, showing it is firmly back on the growth path, noting “we have started to make inroads in recovering market share in revenue terms in the mobile business in the last two quarters, indicating that we have reached a turning point”.

He said its efforts are now focused on building on this momentum, which “means continuing to level up our game to better address the rapidly evolving needs of our individual and corporate customers”.

A 41 per cent year-on-year increase in data revenue during Q3 helped boost mobile service turnover 12 per cent to PHP22.2 billion ($439 million). Data accounted for 61 per cent of mobile service revenue compared with 46 per cent in Q3 2018.

Mobile voice and SMS revenue dropped 8 per cent and 12 per cent respectively.

PLDT’s mobile unit Smart Communications added 13.4 million prepaid users from the same period in 2018, increasing its total base to 71.5 million at end-September. Post-paid numbers were stable at 2.44 million.

Prepaid ARPU fell 5 per cent to PHP114 and post-paid slipped by PHP1 to PHP809.

Group level
Consolidated service revenue in Q3 increased 9 per cent to PHP39.6 billion.

In the opening nine months, net income slid 2 per cent year-on-year to PHP16 billion due to higher expenses from a staff reduction programme and lower gains from the sale of Rocket Internet shares.

Capex totalled PHP53.4 billion: the operator earmarked PHP78.4 billion for the full year.

Smart added about 5,500 4G base stations, taking the total to about 21,700.