PLDT, the largest telecoms operator in the Philippines, expanded its wireless broadband subscriber base 10 per cent to almost 2.7 million in the first nine months of the year, while fixed broadband connections rose 11 per cent to 1.1 million.
The country’s largest telecoms operator added almost 250,000 wireless broadband customers in the first three quarters, Business World said. Smart Broadband had 2.1 million subscribers, while Sun Cellular had close to 600,000.
PLDT president and CEO Napoleon Nazareno told reporters recently that intense competition with Globe Telecom has forced it to boost its capex budget by 7.8 per cent to PHP34.5 billion ($772 million) next year.
In late September it offered its 66 million prepaid mobile subscribers two months of free internet, with a daily data allowance of 30MB. The next week, rival Globe, a pioneer of zero-rating access to Facebook and the internet to woo users, re-introduced the offer in response to Smart’s initiative.
Nazareno said the company is on track to hit its revised profit forecast of PHP37 billion for fiscal 2014. After a sluggish first nine months, with profit falling 3 per cent and revenue down 1 per cent, he said Q4 would improve since uptake of mobile broadband is generally strong around the holiday season, Business World reported.
PLDT’s mobile unit, Smart has 69 million mobile connections and a 61 per cent market share. It launched LTE in 2012 but as of Q3 had just over one million 4G customers. Earlier in the year it announced plans to extend LTE coverage from just a few cities to 25 urban areas, covering half the country’s population of 99 million.