Filipino telecoms giant PLDT (including mobile division Smart Communications) reported that consolidated service revenue climbed 9% to a record-high PHP171.5 billion (USD3.5 billion) in FY 2020, driven by a rise in demand for internet services during the pandemic. The Pangilinan-led telco said the popularity of data – which increased by 18% on an annualised basis – helped drive 8% growth in net profit to PHP24.3 billion. Legacy telecoms core income, meanwhile, also improved by 4% y-o-y to PHP28.1 billion.
The telco’s FY20 results are a significant boost to the group’s ongoing revitalisation after years of struggling to cope with rival Globe Telecom, which leap-frogged it to lead the mobile market segment back in 2016. In response, PLDT has focused on ramping up its high speed internet capabilities, and reported fibre infrastructure covering 429,000km by end-2020, blanketing nine million homes, aided by overall CAPEX of PHP71.9 billion last year; it plans to add a further 125km of fibre in fiscal 2021.
‘This fibre infrastructure also supports Smart’s wireless networks, which cover 96% of the population. As of end-December 2020, Smart had increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000, an increase of 20% compared to end-2019. As it accelerates its 5G commercial services nationwide this year, Smart plans to grow its 5G base stations by over 3,800, while expanding its LTE network by adding about 4,000 more base stations,’ PLDT said in a statement.