PLDT Inc. reports that its net profit in the three months to 31 March 2018 increased by 41% to PHP6.970 billion (USD134.2 million) from PHP4.951 billion in 1Q17, fuelled by ‘the strength of its home and enterprise businesses, which achieved record high revenues in the first quarter of the year,’ said Chairman and CEO Manuel Pangilinan in a briefing. First-quarter revenues improved 5% year-on-year to PHP38.839 billion, with ‘PLDT Home’ contributing around PHP8.9 billion and the ‘Enterprise Group’ generating a further PHP9.2 billion. ‘Both now account for nearly half of our total service revenues,’ Pangilinan confirmed, although the group’s wireless businesses – branded ‘Smart’, ‘TNT’ and ‘Sun’ – contributed a combined PHP14.8 billion in service revenues.
‘After several quarters of challenged revenues, this upswing is definitely encouraging. But we are keenly aware that it has taken great efforts and historic investments to get this far,’ the CEO said, adding: ‘Given these developments, we maintain our guidance that full-year recurring core income for 2018 excluding Voyager [Voyager Innovations, which builds technology platforms and products for financial services and digital commerce] will reach PHP23-24 billion and that our CAPEX will increase to PHP58 billion this year’.
In the first quarter of 2018, PLDT broadened the coverage of its fibre-powered broadband network to 4.4 million homes passed, up from four million at end-2017. In the same period, it also increased its capacity to 1.4 million lines from about one million, and raised its total fibre footprint to about 187,000km. In a press release, the operator noted that its fibre rollout includes both fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) and hybrid copper/fibre architectures (e.g. G.fast access supported by fibre-to-the-cabinet [FTTC]) that will deliver ‘fibre-speed’ broadband to ‘virtually all DSL subscribers by 2019’. Turning to its mobile network developments, PLDT said that the focus has been to roll out more LTE base stations, with Smart installing over 1,300 new LTE base stations in 1Q18, raising the total count to over 10,000. These base stations are using various radio frequency bands, specifically the 700MHz band for coverage and indoor penetration, and 1800MHz and 2100MHz bands for additional capacity. Smart also plans to deploy more LTE-A base stations in the short term, as per its ongoing 4G upgrade programme.