Globe Telecom, the Philippines’ second largest operator by subscribers and revenue, has upped the pace of its 700MHz 4G LTE rollout programme, despite the legal challenge it faces from the Philippine Competition Commission (PCC) regarding its high-profile buyout of 50% of San Miguel Corp (SMC’s) telecom assets. Globe is now targeting an additional 500 LTE-700 cell sites by the end of this year, using the aforementioned joint acquisition – rival PLDT having agreed to purchase the other 50%. The telco confirmed that it has already completed the installation of 150 700MHz sites, mostly in Metro Manila, and now plans to switch on a further 500 across the country by end-2016 – again with a focus on Metro Manila. The group’s senior vice-president for Program Governance-Network Technical Group, Joel Agustin, said: ‘[Globe is] fast-tracking the rollout of LTE service[s] nationwide using the 700MHz frequency,’ under the co-use agreement approved by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC). ‘We are confident that more and more of our customers will experience improved services as adoption of LTE-capable devices increases and as we continue to deploy LTE-700 in more sites.’
Globe Telecom booked net income of PHP8.974 billion (USD191.05 million) in January-June 2016, representing a 3% improvement from PHP8.710 billion in 1H15, driven in part by growth in its broadband data revenues. The operator booked consolidated service revenues of PHP59.569 billion in the six-month period, up 11% year-on-year from PHP53.830 billion in the year-earlier period, noting that strong growth was fuelled by rising data service revenues across mobile, home broadband and corporate data services – in particular mobile data. Service revenues derived from its wireless unit – which accounted for the lion’s share, or 77%, of turnover – rose by 3% y-o-y to PHP45.743 billion, as mobile data revenues surged 46% from PHP12.2 billion to PHP17.8 billion (or 39% of total mobile turnover). By contrast, sales of mobile voice and text (SMS) services declined, although earnings from Globe’s landline business improved by 29% y-o-y due to growth in sales of bundled home broadband plans. First-half consolidated EBITDA rose by 13% to PHP25.598 billion from PHP22.715 billion in the same period a year ago, and CAPEX of PHP17 billion was used to support the growing subscriber base and its increasing appetite for data, it said. To date, Globe has a total of 28,992 base stations live in its network, with close to 19,000 for 4G LTE. As of end-June 2016, Globe had amassed a total of 61.3 million mobile subscribers, a notable 20% increase from the 51 million subscribers reported at 30 June 2015, which it attributed to strong pre-paid gross acquisitions during the period under review.