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Philippines - Major Telecommunications Operators


Attention: There is an updated edition available for this report.

Despite competition from new carriers and mobile operators, PLDT has continued to be the Philippines’ dominant fixed-line and mobile provider.

The number of telephone subscribers in the Philippines has continued on a healthy growth path. The mobile sector has been dominant, although more recently broadband subscriptions of all kinds have been playing a bigger role. For a long time the growth in mobile services was in large part due to the popularity of SMS services as well as the relatively higher price and inaccessibility of fixed-line services. In 2009 the global financial crisis had a major impact on the local economy and in turn on the local mobile market, pulling the growth rate down. Nevertheless the telecom market has continued to grow with 2010 seeing a positive rebound that has continued up to the present time. PLDT subsidiary Smart remains the dominant player in the market; by 2011 it held a 52% share, followed by Globe Telecom with 32% and Digitel with 16%. The major market development in 2011 was PLDT’s acquisition of Digitel and its repercussions were being felt through 2012 and into 2013. With PLDT holding a huge 67% of the mobile market in early 2013, the acquisition had certainly proved controversial. When the regulator gave its final approval it was heavily conditional. This report provides an overview of the major operators in the Philippine mobile market with some pertinent statistics.

Key developments:

PLDT was continuing the process of integrating Digitel into its business, targeting completion by 2014;
Local media company ABS-CBN Corp aiming to become ‘third player’ in the country’s telecom industry;
Globe announced in early 2013 the completion of the first phase of its network modernisation program, having upgraded 100% of its cell sites;
the NTC was proceeding with plans to auction the 3G frequency licence formerly held by CURE;
Globe Telecom was moving closer to completing its takeover of Bayan in 2013, having finalised the buyout of the company’s debt holders.

Companies covered in this report include:

PLDT, Smart Communications, Talk ‘N Text (TNT), Red Mobile (CURE), Globe Telecom, Digitel, Extelcom, Bayantel, Bell Telecom (Bell Telecom); ABS-CBN Corp.


1. Synopsis
2. Major operators
2.1 Overview
2.2 ABS-CBN aiming to be ‘third player’
3. Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT)
3.1 Overview
3.2 Foreign ownership issue
3.3 Financials
3.4 PLDT’s fixed-line operations
3.4.1 Operational statistics
3.4.2 Development
3.4.3 Background
3.5 PLDT’s mobile operations
3.5.1 Overview
3.5.2 Operational statistics
3.5.3 Smart Communications
3.5.4 Talk ‘N Text (TNT) (formerly Piltel)
3.5.5 Red Mobile (CURE)
3.6 PLDT’s broadband operations
3.7 Globe Telecom
3.7.1 Overview
3.7.2 Service problems and network upgrade project
3.7.3 Financials
3.7.4 Bayantel debt buy-out and acquisition
3.7.5 Developments
3.7.6 Globe Telecom’s mobile operations
3.7.7 Globe Telecom’s fixed-line operations (Innove)
3.7.8 Globe Telecom’s broadband operations
3.8 Digitel/Sun Cellular
3.8.1 Overview
3.8.2 Digitel’s mobile operations
3.8.3 Digitel’s fixed-line operations
3.8.4 PLDT’s acquisition of Digitel
3.9 Bayantel
3.9.1 Overview
3.9.2 Operations
3.9.3 Financial difficulties
3.10 Other operators
3.10.1 Extelcom
3.10.2 Bell Telecom
3.10.3 Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc (ETPI)
3.10.4 PhilCom
3.10.5 Next Mobile
3.10.6 Liberty Telecom / Wi-tribe
3.10.7 ABS-CBN
3.10.8 New licences
4. Related reports
Table 1 – Mobile market share - major operators – March 2013
Table 2 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – March 2013
Table 3 – Mobile subscribers by operator – 2009 - 2011
Table 4 – PLDT fixed-line subscribers – 2001; 2005 - 2012
Table 5 – PLDT mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2013
Table 6 – Smart Communications: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
Table 7 – PLDT – mobile ARPU by operator/contract type – March 2012
Table 8 –Smart mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2012
Table 9 – Smart – prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers – March 2012
Table 10 – Smart – prepaid and postpaid mobile ARPU – March 2012
Table 11 –Talk ‘N Text mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2012
Table 12 – Red Mobile (CURE) subscribers – 2009 - 2012
Table 13 – Historical - Globe Telecom mobile subscribers – 2001 - 2004
Table 14 – Globe Telecom mobile subscribers – 2005- 2013
Table 15 – Globe Telecom – mobile subscribers - prepaid v. postpaid – March 2013
Table 16 – Global Telecom: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
Table 17 – Historical - Globe Telecom fixed-line subscribers – 2002 - 2005
Table 18 – Globe Telecom fixed-line subscribers – 2006 - 2012
Table 19 – Globe Telecom broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2013
Table 20 – Globe Telecom broadband subscribers - wired v. wireless – March 2013
Table 21 – Digitel mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2012
Table 22 – Digitel –mobile subscribers- prepaid and postpaid – March 2012
Table 23 – Digitel fixed-line subscribers – 2001; 2007; 2010 - 2012
Table 24 – Bayantel’s fixed-line subscribers – 2000 - 2001; 2006 - 2012

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