PLDT's EBITDA rises 7% q-o-q as it slows revenue decline

15 May 2017

Filipino fixed and mobile telecoms group PLDT posted consolidated service revenues of PHP35.6 billion (USD716 million) in the quarter ended 31 March 2017, down by 7% year-on-year, but only 1% lower than in Q4 2016, which the company highlighted as being in line with its objective to arrest its negative top-line trend. Q1 2017 fixed service revenues amounted to PHP16.9 billion, up 10% y-o-y (up 4% q-o-q), partly offsetting a 16% y-o-y (4% q-o-q) drop in wireless service revenues to PHP20.8 billion. Consolidated EBITDA reached PHP16.5 billion in the first three months of 2017, 1% less than Q1 2016, but 7% higher than Q4 2016, marking three consecutive quarters of EBITDA improvement, ‘due primarily to lower provisions and lower subsidies that compensated for lower revenues’, the company’s statement said.

PLDT’s Home and Enterprise business units were key revenue drivers in 1Q17, as service revenues at the former climbed 12% y-o-y to PHP7.8 billion, while the latter’s corresponding figure climbed 13% to PHP8.5 billion. Consumer mobile service revenues, however, dropped 18% y-o-y to PHP14.7 billion, blamed largely on declines in SMS and voice revenues. Nonetheless, the combined subscriber base of the PLDT group’s three mobile brands Smart, Sun and TNT rose by around 400,000 q-o-q in January-March 2017. Underlying data and broadband revenues (fixed and wireless) grew 10% y-o-y to PHP15.9 billion and comprised 44% of consolidated revenues; data and broadband accounted for 62% and 33% of fixed and wireless service revenues, respectively, whilst mobile internet revenues grew 20% y-o-y to PHP4.6 billion in 1Q17. Corporate data and data centre revenues grew 17% to PHP4.9 billion while residential broadband revenues rose 15% to PHP4.7 billion.

In 1Q17 PLDT expanded the reach of its fibre broadband network to cover over three million homes, up from 2.8 million at end-2016 and aiming for a 4.4 million homes target by end-2017. The telco is also set to start deploying G.fast copper last-mile technology by mid-2017 under a three-year programme, whilst the group will provide 4G LTE mobile coverage to 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities by 2018 under its three-year plan.