Filipino incumbent fixed line and mobile operator Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT) said its Q1 net profit increased 21% year-on-year on the back of a strong performance from its mobile business. Net profit for the three months to March climbed to PHP10.4 billion (USD247 million), up from PHP8.6 billion in the first quarter of 2007, while core profit (excluding the impact of FOREX and derivative gains and other one-off items) was up 11% at PHP9.3 billion. PLDT’s chairman Manuel Pangilinan remained cautious about the group’s prospects for 2008 but predicted a ‘better’ year. ‘We seem to have deflected, for the meantime, the economic downturn that is affecting much of the world. Our sustained growth in the first quarter indicates that the teeth of inflation and rising prices have yet to bite deeply into our businesses,’ he said. PLDT’s consolidated revenue climbed 6% to PHP34.9 billion driven by a strong performance from Smart Communications and Piltel which helped offset the negative impact of the strong peso on dollar-linked revenue. The telco’s wireless broadband unit also performed well, with revenues leaping 122% y-o-y to PHP919 million in the first quarter of this year.