Manila, Philippines (December 31, 2016) – Globe Telecom (PSE: GLO) dislodged Smart Communications as the largest wireless telecommunications company in the Philippines. The Ayala-led telco gets a bigger chunk of the wireless and mobile subscribers, with a slim margin as of September 2016 based on our independent research.
In Q3 2016, Globe registered a total of 65.8 million wireless subscribers, up by more than 16% from 56.6 million in 2015, ahead by more than 200,000 compared to Smart’s record of 65.6 million subscribers.
PLDT-Smart’s 65.6 million figure was computed by adding 3.8 million broadband subscribers to 61.8 reported cellular subscribers, in order to have a fair comparison with Globe.
In PLDT’s financial reports, ‘wireless broadband’ subscribers refer to users of dongles and pocket WiFi devices under ‘SmartBro’ and ‘Sun Broadband Wireless (SBW)’ brands and fixed wireless users under ‘HomeBro’ brand. On the other hand, ‘cellular subscriber base’ refers to subscribers under Smart, Talk ‘N Text (TNT) and Sun Cellular brands.
Globe Telecom has been reporting the number of broadband subscribers separately under ‘broadband’ until Q4 2015, the same format with PLDT.
However, sudden changes on reporting presentation were made starting Q1 2016. Users of dongles and pocket WiFi devices under ‘Tattoo’ brand, previously reported and presented under ‘broadband business’ were consolidated with the rest of Globe and Touch Mobile (TM) brands except for fixed wireless.
Globe subsequently adjusted and restated 2015 subscriber count from 52.9 million to 56.2 million.
To create a comparative figure for Q3 2016, the remaining 521,853 representing fixed wireless home broadband users, were added to Globe’s total count as PLDT’s count also includes fixed wireless.
Since 2012, Globe Telecom had been slowly gaining on the market share when it had 32% or around 34 million customers, while Smart users were stagnant at around 72 million from 2012 to 2014.
In 2015, Globe’s market share surged to 45% with 10.2 million net additions while Smart shed almost 4 million subscribers.
As of September 2016, Globe managed to get a 50% share with additional 9 million subscribers for the first 9 months while Smart lost 3.2 million during the same period. Both telecom companies are yet to disclose their 2016 full-year figures.
PLDT’s net income in the July to September period fell 49% to Php 3.4 billion from Php 6.6 billion during the same period last year. Revenue fell by 6% at Php 40.1 billion from Php 42.7 billion in the same comparable period.
Globe’s income also dropped by 50% to Php 2.7 billion in the July to September from Php 5.43 billion in the same period in 2015. Service revenues reached Php 29.52 billion from July to September, almost unchanged from P29.53 billion a year ago.
PLDT’s net income for the first nine months fell 37% to Php 16 billion from Php 25.3 billion, while consolidated revenues slipped 2% to Php 125.4 billion from Php 127.9 billion year-on-year.
Globe booked net income of P11.7 billion for the first nine months, down 17% from Php 14.1 billion during the same period last year. Service revenues for the nine-month period rose 7% to Php 89 billion this year from Php 83.3 billion last year.
Last November, Pangilinan-led PLDT Inc. announced top management reshuffle which aims to turn around its declining business and recover market share.
Smart attributed the decline on account of lower wireless service revenues, rise in product subsidies, content costs, and higher provisions. Globe said it was due to higher non-operating charges and depreciation, as well as costs related to the transaction with San Miguel Corp. (SMC).
In May this year, Globe and PLDT set aside their fierce competition when they co-acquired the telecommunications business of SMC for P69.1 billion, the company which was supposed to launch a 3rd major telecom player. The two networks get additional 700 and 2600 megahertz (MHz) frequencies out of the SMC transaction to expand coverage and be able to provide faster and reliable internet services.
Modernization and Network Transformation
In 2011, Globe Telecom embarked USD 790-million landmark network modernization program in preparation for the expected rise in voice and data traffic. According to Globe, it was not a mere “upgrade” but building an entirely new network, replacing all old equipment to ensure that the company was ready to cope with the demands of its users. The project was completed in 2013. Since then, Globe attracted more customers.
In 2016, PLDT began a USD 1-billion three-year digital transformation program from being a traditional phone service provider to a digital company along with its major rebranding. [techthetruth]
Sources: PLDT and Globe’s 2015 and Q3 2016 financial reports
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