The two major telecoms operators in the Philippines, Globe Telecom and PLDT, reported starkly contrasting results for the first nine months of 2018.
Globe Telecom, with a 53 per cent market share by subscribers at end-September, generated healthy gains in profit; mobile revenue; subscribers; and ARPU. Meanwhile, rival PLDT (and its mobile unit Smart) suffered declines in all four categories (see chart below, click to enlarge).
PLDT issued its earnings this week, a matter of days after the Philippines regulator named a consortium comprised of three domestic companies and China Telecom as the provisional third mobile player in the country.
Globe Telecom (which issued its results before the regulator’s announcement) added 6.1 million mobile subcribers since Q3 2017, while prepaid ARPU in the nine months to end-September increased 10 per cent year-on-year. Mobile service revenue growth was driven by a 26 per cent year-on-year jump in data revenue to PHP39.5 billion ($742 million). On the down side, voice and SMS service revenue each fell 5 per cent.
PLDT’s profit slumped 25 per cent year-on-year in the nine-month period, with wireless revenue falling 3 per cent. Its mobile subscriber base was flat at 58 million and Smart prepaid ARPU dropped 10 per cent. The bright spot for Smart was a 12 per cent jump in mobile data, which accounted for 45 per cent of total wireless revenue. Voice turnover was flat and SMS revenue was down nearly 50 per cent year-on-year.
Both grew their LTE customer base by more than 60 per cent, with 4G accounting for 18 per cent of total subscriptions.
Smart said it is on track for LTE coverage to reach 90 per cent of cities and municipalities nationwide by the year-end, while Globe Telecom said it will fulfill its commitment to cover 95 per cent of cities.
PLDT committed PHP58 billion to capex in 2018, up 44 per cent from 2017, while Globe Telecom previously said it would spend PHP50.1 billion on capex.Subscribe to our daily newsletter