Filipino telecoms giant PLDT Inc. has posted its financial results for the twelve months ending 31 December 2018, highlighting a 41% spike in net income to PHP18.973 billion (USD363.6 million), up from PHP13.466 billion in FY 2017, on total revenue that rose 3% to PHP164.752 billion and pre-tax profits which climbed 57% to PHP22.815 billion from PHP14.569 billion. Higher revenues in FY 2018 were driven mainly by data services in the telco’s Fixed Line business segment, as well as higher non-service revenues from its Wireless business segment, which was partially offset by lower revenues from mobile and home broadband services from PLDT’s Wireless business segment, and lower voice revenues from Fixed Line business activities. However, full year EBITDA dipped 3% year-on-year to PHP64.027 billion, primarily due to lower EBITDA in Wireless and Other business segments, which was only partially offset by higher EBITDA from the group’s Fixed Line business segment. PLDT’s EBITDA margin narrowed two points in 2018 to 42%, and core net income declined 7% to PHP25.855 billion, it confirmed via a regulatory filing.
In a disclosure to the stock exchange, PLDT added that it is allocating what it terms a ‘historic high’ budget in 2019 to enhance its ‘network advantage’ across the country. The telco, which currently competes head to head with its main rival Globe Telecom, has earmarked CAPEX of PHP78.4 billion in FY19, a significant PHP20 billion increase on the monies spent last year. ‘This aggressive rollout is intended to further push the already significant network advantage of PLDT and [mobile arm] Smart, and, to support our active campaign for more revenues,’ the telco confirmed. In 2018 PLDT’s fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) network rollout passed 6.3 million homes nationwide, up from around four million at end-2017.
Operationally, PLDT closed out 2018 with a total of 60.499 million Smart-Digitel (Sun Cellular) mobile subscribers (up 4% y-o-y), 2.025 million broadband subscribers (up 4%), of which 1.812 million are fixed broadband connections (up 6%), and close to 2.711 million fixed telephony subscribers, compared to 2.663 million at end-2017.