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Philippines - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

The Philippines sees the start of a big move into mobile broadband

While the telecom sector in the Philippines has witnessed considerable investment and business activity since deregulation, the market has continued to fall short of its full potential. Nevertheless, there certainly has been a lot of activity, with the market often finding a different direction from what was envisaged. The country’s mobile market has been particularly energetic for some years, for example, running on what could only be described as a genuine revolution in the development of SMS as an effective communications service. Even more significant ultimately has been the recent expansion in broadband internet. Broadband is finally building a healthy subscriber base, boosted by the considerable presence of mobile broadband services in the mix of the various platforms available. There has also been good progress in the rollout of optical fibre infrastructure, although not on the national scale envisaged. In the meantime, the larger operators are building IP-based Next Generation Networks. Whilst the global financial problems had earlier presented some real challenges for the local telecom market, the negative impact seems to have been put well behind.

By early 2015 the number of mobile telephone subscribers had grown to around 113 million, with mobile penetration of 114% in this country of almost 100 million people. The Philippines mobile market initially took off in a big way back in 2000. It did so with the help of the surprising performance of SMS in the Philippines. At its peak, around two billion SMS messages were being sent every day in the Philippines. Although this market has eased considerably, the country reportedly generates the largest SMS volume in the world. An indication of the constant change in the mobile market has been the way the Philippines SMS market has started to decline as internet-based social networks have begun to impact dramatically on SMS usage. There is a major transition taking place as faster, new generation mobile networks become the norm.

Compared with most of its Asian neighbours, the Philippines has moved slowly on the adoption of internet. Nevertheless, this situation is changing rapidly. Of the estimated 45% of the population that made up the internet-user population coming into 2015, a large proportion of these were already using a high-speed broadband connection to go online. In early 2015 available statistics suggested that more than 80% of all internet subscriptions were broadband-based, representing a major shift in the broadband presence in the Philippines in recent years. Broadband subscription penetration as a proportion of the population was still only around 9%.

The country’s fixed-line subscriber penetration has remained essentially stagnant, even suffering decline at times. It has certainly been a long period of difficulties for the fixed-line operators. Despite the concerted effort of both the government and the operators to expand the national fixed network, fixed-line teledensity stood at just 3% in 2015; only a little more than half of all Philippine towns and cities had a basic fixed telephone service by that stage.

Key developments

Growth in mobile subscribers in the Philippines was running at around 10% annually coming into 2015;

Mobile penetration had reached 114% by that stage;

Smart was leading the deployment of 4G LTE mobile services across the country, with its 4G network covering more than 85% of the population;

Globe Telecom was also expanding its 4G LTE coverage, but was trailing Smart;

There were over 8 million broadband subscribers in the country by early 2015; however, this still only represented around 8% population penetration;

The fixed-line market had effectively lost direction, with no growth expected in the short term;

Local media company ABS-CBS Corp was taking steps to become the ‘third player’ in the country’s telecom market;

In a relatively low key launch, ABS-CBNmobile started operating as an MVNO;

BellTel was also making a move in early 2015 to enter the Philippines mobile market and become its fourth mobile operator after PLDT, Globe and ABS-CBN Mobile;

The Philippine telecom sector continues to be an important element in the local economy, contributing over 10% to the country’s GDP.

Growth in GDP of between 6% and 7% per annum was forecast for the Philippines in 2015/2016;

The country selected the ISDB-T platform for its terrestrial transmission standard;

Revised legislation to create a new Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) was proceeding in early 2015.

Companies mentioned 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 Broadcasting Corporation, ABS-CBNmobile, NOW Telecom (formerly Next Mobile), Liberty Telecom/Wi-Tribe, EasyCall, Altimax, Broadband Philippines, Meridian Telekoms, Vega Telecom, MultiMedia Telephony, AZ Communications Network, MediaQuest, MediaScape, Sky Cable, Home Cable, Destiny Cable, Associated Broadcasting Corporation.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics - 2015
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2014
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2014
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2014
    • Table Mobile statistics - 2014
    • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
      • Background
      • Economy
        • Table Philippines' GDP real growth rate - 2006 - 2016
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
    • PLDT'S ACQUISITION OF DIGITEL
  • REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT
    • REGULATORY AUTHORITIES
      • National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
      • Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT)
      • Proposed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)
    • TELECOM SECTOR LIBERALISATION
    • FOREIGN OWNERSHIP
      • Court ruling on PLDT case
    • REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - 2012 - 2015
      • NTC prepares to enforce internet service standards
      • Operators faced with major compensation bills
      • Network sharing
      • Anti-cable tapping law
      • Foreign ownership rules
      • Spectrum issues
      • Globe's use of Bayantel spectrum challenged
      • Approval of frequency sharing/transfers
      • Re-allocation of spectrum blocked by court decision
  • MAJOR OPERATORS
    • OVERVIEW AND STATISTICS
      • Table Mobile market share - major operators - March 2015
      • Table Mobile market share - major operators - March 2014
      • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - 2014
      • Table Mobile subscribers by operator - 2009 - 2012
      • Table Share of mobile market revenue - Globe v. Smart and Sun Cellular - 2012 - 2014
      • Table Fixed lines - installed and subscribers - by operator - 2012
    • ABS-CBN AIMING TO BE `THIRD TELECOM PLAYER'
    • MOVE BY BELLTEL TO BE THE PHILIPPINES' `FOURTH MOBILE OPERATOR'
    • PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY (PLDT)
      • Overview
      • Background
      • Foreign ownership issue
      • Financials
        • Table PLDT's capital expenditure - 2008 - 2015
        • Table PLDT service revenue by market segment - March- 2015 Quarter
      • PLDT's fixed-line operations
        • Table PLDT fixed-line subscribers - 2001; 2005 - 2015
      • PLDT's mobile operations
        • Table PLDT - total mobile subscribers - 2006 - 2015
        • Table PLDT - mobile subscribers by operator unit/contract type - 2014
        • Table PLDT - mobile ARPU by operator/contract type - 2014
        • Table Smart mobile subscribers - 2010 - 2014
        • Table PLDT - prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers - March 2015
        • Table Smart - prepaid and postpaid mobile ARPU - 2014
        • Table Talk `N Text mobile subscribers - 2002 - 2014
        • Table Historical - Red Mobile (CURE) subscribers - 2009 - 2012
      • PLDT's broadband operations
        • Table PLDT's broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2015
        • Table PLDT's fixed broadband subscribers - 2008 - 2015
        • Table Historical - PLDT's DSL subscribers - 2001 - 2004
        • Table PLDT's DSL subscribers - 2005 - 2013
        • Table PLDT's wireless (mobile) broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2015
        • Table PLDT - broadband ARPU by unit/contract type - 2013 - 2014
        • Table Smart's wireless broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2014
        • Table Sun Cellular / Digitel's broadband subscribers - 2011 - 2014
        • Table PLDT - overview of broadband subscribers - by operator/category - 2014
      • Globe Telecom
        • Table Globe Telecom - fixed-line revenue - 2013 - 2014
        • Table Globe Telecom's capital expenditure - 2012 - 2015
        • Table Historical - Globe Telecom mobile subscribers - 2001 - 2009
        • Table Globe Telecom mobile subscribers - 2010 - 2015
        • Table Globe Telecom - mobile subscribers - prepaid v. postpaid - March 2015
        • Table Globe Telecom - mobile ARPU by contract type - 2014 - 2015
        • Table Historical - Globe Telecom fixed-line subscribers - 2002 - 2007
        • Table Globe Telecom fixed-line subscribers - 2008 - 2015
        • Table Globe Telecom - fixed-line ARPU - 2011 - 2014
        • Table Globe Telecom broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2015
        • Table Globe Telecom's DSL subscribers - 2009 - 2014
        • Table Globe Telecom fixed broadband subscribers - 2014 - 2015
        • Table Globe Telecom's wireless subscribers - 2009 - 2015
        • Table Globe Telecom broadband subscribers - wired v. wireless - March 2015
      • Digitel/Sun Cellular
        • Table Historical - Digitel mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2012
        • Table Historical - Digitel -mobile subscribers- prepaid and postpaid - March 2012
        • Table Historical - Digitel fixed-line subscribers - 2001; 2007; 2010 - 2012
      • Bayantel
        • Table Historical - Bayantel's fixed-line subscribers - 2000 - 2001; 2006 - 2012
      • ABS-CBNmobile
      • Other operators
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Philippines' annual investment in telecom services - 2009 - 2014
    • NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Overview
    • FIXED-LINE STATISTICS
      • Table Historical - Fixed lines in service and penetration - 1994 - 2004
      • Table Fixed lines in service and penetration - 2005 - 2015
      • Table Fixed lines - proportion of urban and residential subscribers - 2007 - 2014
      • Table Historical - Fixed lines installed versus lines in operation - 1995 - 2004
      • Table Fixed lines installed versus lines in operation - 2005 - 2014
    • FORECASTS - FIXED-LINE MARKET - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast fixed line subscribers - 2015; 2020
      • Notes on scenario forecasts
    • BACKGROUND: SERVICE AREA SCHEME (SAS)
      • Table Historical - total lines installed by SAS target date - by operator
    • NATIONAL FIBRE OPTIC NETWORKS
      • Background
      • Ongoing development
    • NEXT GENERATION NETWORKS (NGNS)
      • National Broadband Network (NBN)
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • International gateways
      • Submarine cable networks
      • Satellite systems
    • INFRASTRUCTURE DEVELOPMENTS
      • Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
      • Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services
  • BROADBAND MARKET
    • BROADBAND MARKET OVERVIEW
    • BACKGROUND
    • INTERNET AND BROADBAND STATISTICS
      • Table Historical - Internet users - 1996 - 2009
      • Table Internet users - 2010 - 2016
      • Table Historical - Internet subscribers - 1996 - 2004
      • Table Internet subscribers - 2005-2014
      • Table Overview of internet market statistics - 2012
      • Table International internet bandwidth - 2000 - 2014
      • Table Percentage of households with computer - 2002 - 2014
      • Table Historical - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2004
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2015
      • Table Mobile broadband subscribers - 2009 - 2014
      • Table Mobile broadband subscribers - 2012 - 2014
      • Table Wireless broadband subscribers - 2009 - 2014
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers and households - 2014
      • Table Broadband subscribers by major service provider - 2011 - 2014
    • FORECASTS - INTERNET SERVICES - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast internet subscribers - 2015; 2020
      • Notes on scenario forecasts
    • NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORK (NBN)
      • Overview
      • Background
    • BROADBAND PLATFORMS
      • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
        • Table Historical - DSL subscribers - 2001 - 2007
        • Table DSL subscribers - 2008 - 2014
      • Cable modem
        • Table Cable modem subscribers - 2005 - 2014
      • Fibre to the Home (FttH)
        • Table FttH subscribers - 2005 - 2014
      • Mobile broadband
    • BROADBAND OVER POWER LINES
    • INTERNET MARKET OVERVIEW
      • Background
      • Google study
      • Cloud computing
      • Internet exchanges
      • E-commerce
      • Data Centres
      • Support for internet-based businesses
    • INTERNET REGULATIONS
      • Overview
      • Domain names
      • Minimum internet speeds
      • Hackers
      • IPv6
      • Cybercrime legislation
    • MAJOR BROADBAND SERVICE PROVIDERS AND ISPS
      • Overview
        • Table Historical - Number of registered ISPs - 2001 - 2007
        • Table Number of registered ISPs - 2008 - 2014
      • PLDT
        • Table PLDT broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2015
      • GlobeNet
        • Table Globe Telecom's broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2014
      • Broadband Philippines
      • Meridian
    • INTERNET VIA SATELLITE
    • IP NETWORKS
    • VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP) SERVICES
  • DIGITAL MEDIA / DIGITAL ECONOMY
    • OVERVIEW OF BROADCASTING MARKET IN THE PHILIPPINES
      • Table Key broadcasting statistics - 2014
    • REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS
      • Digital TV
    • PLDT
    • DIGITAL TV SERVICES
      • Overview
      • Broadband TV (IPTV)
      • Globe Telecom - HOOQ
      • Cable and pay TV
      • Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcasting
      • Satellite TV
  • MOBILE COMMUNICATIONS
    • OVERVIEW OF THE PHILIPPINES' MOBILE MARKET
    • MOBILE OPERATORS
    • MOBILE STATISTICS
      • Table Historical - Total mobile subscribers and penetration rate -1994 - 2004
      • Table Total mobile subscribers and penetration rate -2005 - 2015
      • Table Mobile market share - major operators - March 2015
      • Table Mobile market share - major operators - 2014
      • Table Historical - Mobile services revenue - 1993 - 2004
      • Table Mobile services revenue - 2005 - 2014
    • FORECASTS - MOBILE SERVICES - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers - 2015; 2020
    • MOBILE ARPU
      • Table Mobile ARPU by operator/unit - 2014
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Globe's mobile broadband contracts
      • Proposed fines for poor services levels
      • Compulsory SIM registration
      • SMS-related issues
      • `Illegal' use of frequencies and transmission equipment
      • Sale of CURE's spectrum
    • MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES
      • Third Generation (3G) mobile
      • Long Term Evolution (LTE) / Fourth Generation (4G) networks
    • MOBILE VOICE SERVICES
      • Prepaid services
        • Table Globe Telecom - mobile subscribers - prepaid v. postpaid - March 2015
        • Table PLDT - prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers - March 2015
    • MOBILE DATA SERVICES
      • Short Message Service (SMS)
        • Table Total SMS messages - 2003 - 2014
      • Mobile TV
      • M-commerce

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