Philippines-based PLDT’s mobile unit faced a challenging Q3 as lockdown measures hit subscriber additions and prepaid ARPU, while its overall business posted growth due to strong demand for home and enterprise services.

Net profit in the July to September quarter fell 20 per cent year-on-year to PHP7.4 billion ($146.8 million), as a result of recording an equity loss on its Voyager holdings and the depreciation of the peso. Total service revenue increased 5.6 per cent to PHP46.9 billion.

In a statement, president and CEO Alfredo Panlilio said: “We are cautiously optimistic that as the economy reopens we are positioned to serve our customers through the new normal.”

Mobile revenue dipped 2 per cent to PHP23.7 billion, as double-digit declines in voice and SMS offset 4 per cent growth in data sales to PHP17.6 billion.

Its mobile subscriber base fell 2.5 per cent to 70.6 million, with prepaid down 2.1 per cent to 68.5 million and post-paid decreasing 12.8 per cent to 2.04 million.

Prepaid ARPU at mobile unit Smart Communications dropped 10.3 per cent to PHP114, while post-paid rose 2.6 per cent to PHP825.

Home broadband revenue jumped 29 per cent to PHP12.6 billion and enterprise sales increased 2 per cent to PHP10.7 billion.

In an earnings call CFO Anabelle Chua stated capex for the first nine months of the year totaled PHP43.1 billion, after facing a slowdown in Q2, but the company aims to spend about PHP27 billion in the current quarter to reach its PHP70 billion full-year target.

She said it deployed 6,400 5G sites and its LTE network covers 96 per cent of the population.