PLDT Inc. (including Smart Communications) posted record service revenues in the third quarter ending 30 September 2020, citing strong demand for its data and broadband services, sustaining growth momentum that began in 2018, it said. Service revenues in the three-month period climbed to PHP44.367 billion (USD921.4 million) from PHP40.652 billion in 3Q19, as income across its three major revenue streams – Consumer Wireless, Enterprise and Home broadband – reached an ‘all-time high’. Further, it reported that pre-tax income near-doubled to PHP10.462 billion from PHP5.544 billion and net income (attributable to shareholders) climbed to PHP7.407 billion from PHP3.801 billion.
The Philippines’ biggest carrier announced that capital spending this year will reach over PHP70 billion, similar to 2019, despite what it terms ‘the mobility challenges posed by the quarantine period,’ adding that ‘the final level will depend on actual home broadband installations, as Filipinos continue to shift more of their daily activities online, from the safety of their homes’. In its third-quarter release, PLDT outlined how it is attempting to future-proof its network ecosystem in the post-COVID period, stating: ‘PLDT’s investments in capital expenditures total nearly PHP260 billion in the past five years. PLDT’s expansion efforts and investments helped the Group cope with sustained growth in data traffic when COVID-19 community quarantines commenced in March 2020.’
As a result of its efforts, at end-September 2020, 95% of the population were covered by mobile arm Smart’s 3G and 4G mobile data networks, while 46% of cities/municipalities were passed by PLDT’s Home broadband network – fibre-optic and copper. ‘With 8.3 million homes passed, PLDT is looking at a significant potential market in the near-term. PLDT has ongoing plans of adding 500,000 fibre ports.’ In addition, Smart plans to add another 2,000 cell sites in 2021 and has tapped six tower companies to build the initial batch of 180 to 200 common towers, pursuant to the government’s common tower policy.