Philippine’s incumbent operator, PLDT announced its unaudited financial and operating results for the full year 2018 with Core Net Income of Php26.2 billion and reported net income of Php19.2 billion. On PFRS15 basis, Core and Reported Income stood at Php25.9 billion and Php18.9 billion respectively.
2018 was a breakthrough year for PLDT with all of its main revenue businesses – Home, Enterprise, and Consumer Wireless businesses – firing, each registering robust top line growth.
To further enhance its network advantage, PLDT and its wholly owned subsidiary, Smart are undertaking yet another massive capex program by allocating up to Php78.4 billion, equivalent to US$1.5 billion,in budget for 2019. This more than 34% increase in its investment compared to the previous year. This aggressive roll-out is intended to further push the already significant network advantage of PLDT and Smart, and, to support our active campaign for more revenues.
PLDT’s infrastructure edge is most significant in fixed broadband. By end-2018, the coverage of its fiber-powered network passed 6.3 million homes, 57% higher than the 2017 level. Total capacity reached 2.6 million ports with about 1.0 million ports available for sale.
Moreover, PLDT added nearly 70,000 kilometers more of fiber cables, expanding its total fiber network to over 244,000 kilometers, a 39% increase from end-2017.
To take full advantage of on the fixed broadband opportunity, the 2019 Capex budget includes a substantial allocation for “Customer Capex”. This is intended for the purchase of last-mile and customer-premises equipment like modems and also the acquisition of vehicles, equipment and office space for the new corps of technicians being assembled to fast-track the installation and repair of fixed broadband connections.
PLDT press release quoted its officials saying that from a customer experience standpoint, nothing beats fiber. Fortunately, the group has built up over the years, an unmatched extensive fiber footprint which allows us to reach more homes faster and cost-effectively. This major allocation for customer Capex will enable our Home and Enterprise Groups to quickly connect more homes and businesses with fiber-powered fixed broadband using already available fiber ports, provide more customers with better service, and generate additional revenues.
On mobile, the objective is to build on Smart’s LTE advantage and prepare for the arrival of 5G. In 2018, Smart increased the number of its LTE base stations by over 86% to about 16,200 in 2018. It also increased its 3G base stations by over 17% to about 11,500. This massive deployment has enabled Smart to meet its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to provide mobile broadband in at least 90% of the country’s cities and municipalities.
At the same time, Smart has raised the pace of deployment of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) which offers even faster mobile data speeds through carrier aggregation. This capability of LTE-A combines the capacity of two up to five frequency bands, delivering data speeds of up to 500 Mbps with capable mobile devices like the Samsung Galaxy S9 and S10. Smart has already activated carrier aggregation in about 70% of the LTEequipped cell sites.
Meanwhile, Smart is proceeding with its 5G roll-out after launching the first “Smart 5G cities” in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga, and, at the Makati Central Business District in late 2018. More Smart 5G cities will be set up in 2019 in Metro Manila and other parts of the country.