The Philippines’ second-biggest carrier Globe Telecom has reported net income of PHP14.1 billion (USD299.9 million) for January-September 2015, up 34% year-on-year, fuelled by the acquisition of fellow operator Bayan Telecommunications (Bayantel), and the sale of its 51% stake in Yondu to Xurpas. Globe President and CEO Ernest L Cu noted that the firm’s sustained growth came ‘despite the renewed challenges in the industry’, with momentum supported by an increase in earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and lower non-operating charges. Globe recorded consolidated services revenue of PHP83.4 billion for 9M15, up 15% on an annualised basis, bolstered by the aforementioned inclusion of Bayantel, which boosted core net income 10% to PHP12.7 billion. Excluding the impact of Bayantel, net income and core income would have risen by 31% and 9% respectively. In particular, Globe noted that each of its three mobile brands reported ‘strong demand’ for mobile data services, generating revenue of PHP15.1 billion in the nine-month period, up 48% year-on-year.
At end-September Globe reported a total of 50.1 million mobile subscribers, up 17% from a year earlier, with the takeover of Bayantel pushing the enlarged group through the 50 million subscriber barrier for the first time in its history. Further, the operator noted that total broadband service revenue topped PHP12.4 billion as the number of high speed internet users (fixed and wireless broadband) moved closer to the four million-mark. Globe spent around PHP22.9 billion in capital expenditures in 9M15 to support the growing subscriber base and its demand for data.
In related news, Globe has joined PLDT in asking that the regulator, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), distribute unused 700MHz frequencies held by San Miguel Corp (SMC) to augment available bandwidth in the Philippines in preparation for the explosion of mobile data use. Globe legal counsel Froilan Castelo is quoted as saying: ‘Part of the solution to the clamour for faster internet is the harmonization of the 700MHz frequency [band],’ adding ‘giving active and operating telecommunications companies access to this band will allow the industry to provide broadband and data services at faster speeds and in a more cost-efficient manner.’ According to Castelo, as early as 2005 Globe requested that the NTC assign it frequencies in the 700MHz and 800MHz band for its broadband wireless network, but the ‘NTC did not act favourably on its request’.