Philippines-based PLDT revised 2020 capex guidance again, expecting to spend more than it forecast in May but with the figure still falling short of its original allocation.

In an earnings statement, CEO Manuel Pangilinan (pictured) said it now anticipates spending PHP70 billion ($1.4 billion) during 2020, less than the PHP83 billion originally budgeted but higher than the PHP63 billion forecast in May due to Covid-19 (coronavirus) impact.

“We are obviously pleased that our numbers have held up well despite the challenging time. Our strong performance will allow us to further boost our already significant investments,” Pangilinan said.

He noted its capex to revenue ratio will still be about 40 per cent.

H1 net profit was flat year-on-year at PHP12.28 billion, credited to prudent cost management offsetting unbudgeted pandemic-related expenses and increases in provisions.

Consolidated service revenue rose 7 per cent to PHP83.48 billion, driven by 10 per cent growth in mobile to PHP46.1 billion and a 3 per cent increase in fixed-line to PHP37.3 billion.

A 29 per cent jump mobile data turnover to PHP9.36 billion offset double-digit drops in SMS, voice and roaming revenue.

Prepaid ARPU under the Smart brand fell 6.8 per cent to PHP110 with post-paid flat. Prepaid subscribers declined 4 per cent to 67.7 million, post-paid rose 2 per cent to 2.45 million.

5G plans
Mobile unit Smart Communications launched a commercial 5G service for post-paid users on 30 July in five locations in Metro Manila, with plans to extend to more areas in the city this year and to other urban centres in 2021.

It signed tower sharing agreements with six companies to initially build 181 cell sites and is finalising agreements with four more companies.

The operator deployed 2,500 LTE base stations in H1, for a total of 27,100 sites nationwide.