Philippines-based PLDT vowed to keep network investments elevated as the economy cools, noting a review of consolidated capex for 2022 could see the figure exceed initial guidance of PHP85 billion ($1.4 billion).

In its Q3 earnings release, PLDT and Smart Communications president and CEO Alfredo Panlilio explained the company is investing its way through economic challenges.

“At this time that the consumer wallet is diminished…investments will emerge as a primary recovery tool”.

The operator noted funds raised from recent tower sales will support opex and capex, enabling PLDT to avoid taking on additional debt as interest rates rise.

“What is key is that while we continue to drive revenues by responding to our customers’ needs, we are trying to put discipline in place by focusing on strong efforts to control our operational expenses and improve operating efficiencies,” Panlilio explained.

Mobile service revenue in Q3 fell 1.6 per cent year-on-year to PHP23.3 billion, as a 2.5 per cent rise in data sales to PHP18.1 billion was offset by declines in SMS and voice.

Enterprise sales rose 8 per cent to PHP12 billion, with its home broadband unit growing 21 per cent to PHP14.6 billion.

Smart Communications’ post-paid ARPU dropped 15.3 per cent to PHP699 and prepaid was up 2 per cent to PHP106.

Its overall mobile user base fell 1.3 per cent, with prepaid down 3.3 per cent to 25.1 million and post-paid up 36 per cent to nearly 2 million.

Net profit rose 79.6 per cent to PHP10.6 billion, boosted by pre-tax gains from the tower sale, with total service revenue increasing 5.4 per cent to PHP49.4 billion.