PLDT service revenue, subscribers up in 2018
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - March 18, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Telco giant PLDT saw mobile data usage on Smart’s network more than double last year, fueling its first annual service revenue increase in several years.

Mobile data usage, which hit 820 Petabytes last year, pushed individual service revenues to P62.5 billion in 2018, up by seven percent year-on-year.

Mobile data revenues surged to P37.6 billion, representing a 62 percent jump from the previous year, and accounted for 60 percent of the wireless consumer group’s revenues.

Posting its first annual service revenue increase in several years in 2018, PLDT’s individual wireless segment also registered for the first time in years an annual increase of 2.1 million in new subscribers, many of whom are data users. 

“Online video viewing – YouTube in the case of mobile, and video on demand for the fixed line – was the compelling offer that powered the strong adoption of our fixed and mobile data services,” PLDT and Smart executive vice president and chief revenue officer Ernesto Alberto said. 

“As recent studies show, Filipinos are among the world’s most avid online video viewers. But that would not have been possible if PLDT and Smart had not invested heavily and worked very hard to roll out the country’s best fixed and mobile networks over the past three years,” Alberto said. 

Smart cited its successful YouTube promo last year as the “take-off point” of the wireless consumer group’s turnaround journey, as it ignited interest in video viewing among Smart, TNT and Sun customers.

Launched in April 2018, the special offer gave an hour of free YouTube videos per day to Smart, TNT and Sun customers who bought qualified load packages. 

In the six months that the promo ran, Smart said the volume of YouTube traffic in its network soared to nearly 15 times the level at the start of the offer.

To support the heightened mobile data demand, Smart has increased the number of its LTE base stations by over 86 percent year-on-year to about 16,200 as of end-2018, while the number of 3G base stations on its network also increased by 17 percent to about 11,500.

The massive deployment has enabled Smart to provide mobile broadband in at least 90 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities.

Smart said it has also raised the pace of deployment of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), which offers even faster mobile data speeds through carrier aggregation. 

About 70 percent of LTE-equipped sites across the country are already on LTE-A, it said.

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