Telecommunications in the Philippines

Asia Pacific Telecom Research Ltd
June 1, 2009
272 Pages - SKU: APTR2305234
Countries covered: Philippines

Then, the situation radically changed. Growth is usage exploded and now, nine years later, about over 80% of Filipinos are subscribers. This growth was driven by the popularity of SMS, known locally as texting. The Philippines was the first country to adopt the service to any great extent, and remains the texting ‘capital’ of the world.

The reasons for the success of SMS texting are numerous, and include the fact that Filipinos are both gregarious and good communicators. Texting provided an inexpensive means of keeping in touch.

In general, other wireless data services are still in their infancy in the Philippines. Services such as WAP, GPRS and MMS are being adopted only slowly. 3G is now starting to be deployed.

The Internet is still not well used except in the main urban areas such as Manila. Despite the relatively early introduction of the Internet to the Philippines, the service has not been anywhere near as successful as in many other countries. Registered subscribers still represent only about 5% of the population.

E-commerce is also still at an early stage. Although there is much discussion and publicity about the service (which may be preparing the ground for the future), very little business is actually being conducted online at present.

Broadband services are now deployed in Metro Manila and other major conurbations, but the service is still largely unavailable in most rural areas. The range of technologies being used where broadband is available includes DSL, fixed wireless, coaxial cable and satellites.

The pay-TV industry has considerable potential. There are more than nine million TV households in the country, but only about 1.2 million subscribe to pay-TV. An accurate estimate of the number of pay-TV households is, however, difficult to come by because of under-reporting by the operators. Government charges are levied on the number of viewers, so it is in the operators’ interest to downplay their viewing figures.

The Philippines is one of the least developed telecom markets in the Asia-Pacific region. That being so, it has greater investment potential than the more mature markets provided that the economy continues to develop and further social unrest is avoided.

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