The Philippines’ largest telecoms operator by revenue PLDT Inc. reported a 49% drop in net income for the three months ended 30 September 2016, down to PHP3.402 billion (USD69.77 million) from PHP6.610 billion in 3Q15. In a briefing in Makati City today, the telco said the plummeting profits were the result of lower earnings and higher operating costs; total revenues in the quarter dipped 6% year-on-year to PHP40.102 billion, as service revenues fell by a similar margin to PHP38.328 billion, and operating costs increased 6% to PHP33.447 billion from PHP31.639 billion. Pre-tax profit dropped sharply by 41% to PHP5.028 billion, with the company also noting that earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) took a hit ‘on account of lower wireless service revenues, a rise in product subsidies, content costs, and higher provisions’.
‘In the light of our results thus far this year, we are adjusting our projected full year EBITDA to PHP60 billion, lower by PHP4 billion from the previous guidance. We are making this adjustment, anticipating that while data and broadband will keep posting steady growth, toll, cellular voice and SMS revenues will, however, continue to wane,’ PLDT Chairman and CEO Manual V. Pangilinan said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE). ‘This year has been a particularly challenging period for PLDT, as we grappled with both intense price competition and the continuing shift from voice/SMS services to data demand impacting adversely our wireless revenues,’ Pangilinan added.
In an unrelated development, the telco has also announced that it has expanded the coverage of its PLDT Home Fibr broadband services, which now serve more than 2.5 million Filipino homes. ‘As a result of our aggressive rollout programme, PLDT now has over 140,000km of fibre-optic cables, the most extensive fibre infrastructure in the country. This enables us to serve the increasing demand for high speed broadband from homes across the country,’ Pangilinan said in a statement. As a result of the latest expansion work, PLDT has extended its PLDT Home Fibr footprint to homes as far north as Laoag, Baguio City, Vigan City and Tuguegarao, all the way to central and southern Luzon including Tarlac, Cabanatuan City and San Fernando, Pampanga, as well as Puerto Princesa and El Nido in Palawan, down to the Bicol region to Sorsogon, Naga City and Legazpi City. In addition, it notes that major urban areas in the Visayas region are also fibre-ready, with the most extensive footprint in the cities of Bacolod, Cebu, Iloilo, Tacloban and Tagbilaran. Meanwhile, in Mindanao PLDT’s fibre now reaches key provinces and cities including Cotabato, Davao, General Santos City, Koronadal and Zamboanga. To ensure that adoption rates are solid, the operator has introduced a Home Fibr service offering a peak speed of up to 50Mbps for PHP1,899 a month. Over the past decade, PLDT has spent PHP300 billion to roll out what it claims is the country’s ‘most expansive network infrastructure’.