DESPITE Covid-19 mobility restrictions, PLDT and Smart have continued investing to expand the network, resulting in capital expenditure (capex) of P20.7 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
Network upgrades made up the bulk of the capex spend, helping fortify the telco’s infrastructure and deliver consistently superior customer experience. The rollout of fiber, 5G and 4G/LTE networks to support business demand underpins the 2021 capex commitment of between P88 billion and P92 billion, supporting revenue growth.
PLDT Inc. grew consolidated service revenues (net of interconnection costs) by eight percent or P3.3 billion, to P44.8 billion in the first quarter of 2021, led by data/broadband which grew by 15 percent to P33.9 billion.
Sustained demand for data and broadband underpinned the growth of total service revenues across the company’s three customer segments, led by Home, followed by consumer wireless and enterprise.
PLDT Home grew by 19 percent in the first quarter of 2021, hitting P10.9 billion in service revenues. It ramped up installations and upgrade capabilities reaching 129,000 in March 2021. Consumer wireless revenues, on the other hand, hit P22.1 billion in the first three months of 2021, up by seven percent or P1.4 billion compared to the same period last year.
Enterprise grew first quarter service revenues by four percent or P0.4 billion to P10.3 billion, compared to the same period last year.
Telco’s core income (which excludes the impact of asset sales and Voyager Innovations) climbed nine percent or P0.6 billion to P7.5 billion.
“The first quarter results are pretty good. We are on target in terms of our telco core income for the year of P29 to P30 billion. Most likely we’ll achieve the higher end of the telco core income target. Revenues are looking good for April and the first week of May, so the revenues for the second quarter are likely to be similar if not higher than the first quarter growth we saw,” Manuel Pangilinan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of PLDT, said.
PLDT’s fiber infrastructure covered 478,000 kilometers as of the end of the first quarter.
In the first quarter of 2021, PLDT extended the reach of its fixed broadband service to cover 10.2 million homes, whereas the total number of fiber-powered ports increased to 4.4 million.
PLDT’s sustained fiber roll-out also helped support Smart’s 5G network expansion.
As of end-March 2021, Smart had increased the number of its base stations to over 63,600, an increase of seven percent, compared to the end of 2020.
Smart had over 2,600 5G sites and about 3,200 5G base stations nationwide. Smart plans to grow its 5G base stations by over 3,800 in 2021, while expanding its 4G/LTE network by upgrading about 4,000 base stations.
Active data users as of end-March 2021 were at 39.7 million. (JOB)