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Philippines - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts


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

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in the Philippines. Subjects covered include:

  • Key Statistics;
  • Market and Industry Overviews;
  • Regulatory Environment;
  • Major Players (fixed and mobile);
  • Infrastructure development;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Market;
  • Internet, including VoIP and IPTV;
  • Broadband Services, including Wireless;
  • Telecom Market Forecasts.


As mobile growth slows in Philippines, a big surge in broadband Internet is taking placeAfter years of solid growth, the mobile segment of the telecom market in the Philippines slowed dramatically in 2009, reflecting a general downturn in the economy. Whilst growth in mobile subscribers slowed, so also had mobile revenues with just a 1% rise on the previous year, this compared to revenue growth of almost 6% in 2008. Into 2010 the Philippines mobile market had 75 million mobile subscribers (81% penetration) and looked likely to continue modest growth (10%-15%) through to the end of the year.

The country’s GDP growth had eased to under 5% in 2008, down from the 31-year high of 7.3% in 2007 as the recession in the US, its main trading partner, started to hit exports and as rising inflation curtailed consumer spending. Growth in the Philippines slipped even further in 2009 coming in at just 0.1%. At the same time, the country’s telecom industry also shifted to a pattern of more modest growth, with the core mobile services business looking more like it was approaching maturity. By 2010, however, there was increasing optimism that the economy’s down time was passing, with the IMF forecasting growth in GDP of around 4% for the year.

The major operators had been forced to cope with the pressures of slowing growth in traditional areas of the market and rising investment needs for new growth areas such as consumer broadband. Mobile expansion had certainly slowed by 2010, but the operators were continuing to talk positively about the market’s potential. With modest growth the clear pattern into 2010, the mobile market remained central to the development of the Philippines telecom sector, just as it has done over the last decade or so. Although the sector was facing challenges there was clearly some energy remaining in it as the two leading operators continued to roll out their Third Generation mobile offerings.

In the meantime there is a growing interest in broadband services, with the major players in the local telecom market starting to invest heavily in the expansion of broadband access and looking at both wired and wireless broadband platforms to provide coverage. The demand for broadband services was starting to rapidly increase coming into 2010, underpinned by the rising availability of PCs in the country. (There were an estimated 12 million units by 2009 representing a PC penetration of 13%). Despite the fresh new round of growth, overall broadband penetration remains relatively low; there were only three broadband services for every 100 people in the country early in 2010.

The country’s fixed-line subscriber penetration, which has been well and truly living in the shadow of the mobile juggernaut, remained essentially stagnant. It has certainly been a long period of difficult times 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 less than 5% in 2010 and only a little more than half of all Philippine towns and cities had a basic telephone service.

The Philippine telecom and IT market continues to reflect considerable optimism despite the vicissitudes of the local market and the questions hanging over the global economy; significantly, the sector has been contributing more than 10% to the country’s GDP, having obviously been given a massive boost by the mobile segment over the last decade.

Market highlights:

Growth in mobile subscribers slowed dramatically in the Philippines in 2009 but despite the poor national economy still managed to grow 9% in the year;

Reinforcing the depressed state of the industry in 2009, mobile revenues grew just 1%, this compared to revenue growth of almost 6% in the previous year;

There was evidence of a modest recovery in the mobile market in 2010 with overall subscriber growth set to reach 10%-15% by year end taking penetration close to 100%;

Filipinos had sent an estimated 1.8 billion SMS messages every day in 2009;

However, the volume of text messages looked likely to peak at this 2009 level, as social networking websites started undermining some of the traffic patterns;

Broadband Internet access in the Philippines was finally growing in a significant fashion, with the country having experienced a four year growth surge in that market segment;

There were an estimated 2.5 million broadband subscribers by end-2009, but this still only represented 3% of the population;

While PLDT continued to be the country’s leading broadband operator, the leading WiMAX operator was Globe Telecom. Just 12 months after launch it had a subscriber base of over 700,000 coming into 2010;

Growth in the fixed-line market remained sluggish; fixed teledensity stood at less than 5% with the numbers only likely to edge up slightly in the short term;

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

Philippines: - key telecom parameters - 2009 - 2010
Category 2009 2010 (e)
Fixed-line services:
    Total number of subscribers 4.1 million 4.2 million
Annual growth 4% 1%
Fixed-line penetration (population) 4.5% 4.6%
Fixed-line penetration (household) 19% 19%
Internet:  
  Total number of subscribers1 5.0 million 7.5 million
Annual growth 67% 50%
Internet subscriber penetration (population) 5.5% 8.0%
Internet subscriber penetration (household) 27% 39%
Mobile services:    
Total number of subscribers 74.5 million 90.0
Annual growth 9% 20%
Mobile penetration (population) 82% 96%
(Source: BuddeComm)
1Estimates for both 2009 and 2010.  
Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

1. Key Statistics
2. Telecommunications Market
2.1 Overview of the Philippines’ telecom market
2.1.1 Background to development
2.1.2 Domination of mobile telephony
3. Regulatory Environment
3.1 Regulatory authorities
3.1.1 Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT)
3.2 Regulator’s outlook
3.3 Regulatory developments
3.3.1 Pricing
3.3.2 SMS
3.3.3 Promotions
3.3.4 Taxation issues
3.3.5 Monitoring of performance
3.3.6 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services
3.3.7 Interconnection arrangements
3.3.8 Service coverage
3.4 Telecom sector liberalisation
3.5 Alternative Communications Program
4. Major Fixed Network Operators
4.1 Fixed-line operator Statistics
4.2 BayanTel
4.2.1 Financial difficulties
4.2.2 Fixed-mobile services
4.3 Bell Telecom
4.4 Digitel (Digital Telecommunications Philippines)
4.5 Eastern Telecommunications Philippines Inc (ETPI)
4.6 Innove (Globe Telecom)
4.7 PhilCom
4.8 PLDT
4.9 Philippine Telephone and Telegraph Co (PT&T)
4.10 Liberty Telecom
5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
5.1 Overview
5.2 National telecom network
5.2.1 Service Area Scheme (SAS)
5.2.2 National fibre optic networks
5.2.3 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
5.3 International infrastructure
5.3.1 International gateways
5.3.2 Submarine cable networks
5.3.3 Satellite systems
5.3.4 Common carriers
5.4 Infrastructure developments
5.4.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
5.4.2 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
5.4.3 Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services
6. Broadband Market
6.1 Broadband market overview
6.1.1 Broadband and Internet statistics
6.1.2 Regulatory issues
6.1.3 National Broadband Network (NBN)
6.2 Cable modem
6.3 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
6.4 Wireless broadband
6.4.1 Market overview
6.4.2 Blackberry
6.4.3 Rural services
6.4.4 WiFi
6.4.5 WiMAX
6.5 Broadband over power line
6.6 Internet market overview
6.6.1 Role of Internet in the Philippines
6.6.2 Internet exchanges
6.6.3 Internet regulations
6.6.4 Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT)
6.6.5 Gearing Up Internet Literacy and Access for Students (GILAS)
6.7 Major broadband service providers and ISPs
6.7.1 Overview
6.7.2 PLDT
6.7.3 GlobeNet
6.7.4 BayanTel
6.7.5 Bell Telecom’s I-Direct
6.7.6 Broadband Philippines
6.7.7 Meridian
6.7.8 Prime Communications (formerly Pacific Internet)
6.7.9 MosCom
6.7.10 Philweb.com
6.7.11 EasyCall
6.8 Internet via satellite
6.9 IP networks
7. Digital Media/Digital Economy
7.1 Overview of broadcasting market in the Philippines
7.1.1 Regulatory development
7.1.2 PLDT
7.2 Digital TV
7.2.1 Broadband TV (IPTV)
7.2.2 Cable and pay TV
7.3 Free-to-Air (FTA) broadcasting
7.3.1 ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation
7.3.2 GMA Network Inc
7.3.3 Associated Broadcasting Corporation (ABC)
7.3.4 Other FTA broadcasters
7.4 Satellite TV
7.4.1 Direct-to-Home (DTH) services
7.5 Mobile TV
8. Mobile Communications
8.1 Overview of the Philippines’ mobile market
8.2 Mobile operators
8.3 Mobile statistics
8.4 Regulatory issues
8.4.1 Mobile licence cancellation
8.4.2 Poaching of subscribers
8.4.3 Free SMS proposal
8.4.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
8.4.5 SMS promotions
8.4.6 Per-pulse billing
8.4.7 Spectrum User Fees (SUF)
8.5 Mobile technologies
8.5.1 Third Generation (3G) mobile
8.6 Mobile voice services
8.6.1 Prepaid cards
8.7 Mobile data services
8.7.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
8.7.2 Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
8.7.3 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS)
8.7.4 Mobile TV
8.7.5 BlackBerry
8.8 Mobile content and applications
8.8.1 Overview
8.8.2 Content development
8.8.3 M-commerce
8.9 Major mobile operators
8.9.1 Overview
8.9.2 Globe Telecom
8.9.3 Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT)
8.9.4 Extelcom
8.9.5 Digitel/Sun Cellular
8.9.6 BellTel
9. Forecasts
9.1 Forecasts - fixed-line market - 2015; 2020
9.2 Forecasts - Internet services - 2015; 2020
9.3 Forecasts - mobile services - 2015; 2020
10. Glossary of Abbreviations
List of Tables and Exhibits
Table 1 - Country statistics Philippines - 2010
Table 2 - Telephone network statistics - 2009
Table 3 - Internet user statistics - 2009
Table 4 - Broadband statistics - 2009
Table 5 - Mobile statistics - 2009
Table 6 - National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 - Fixed-line operators, lines, subscribers and market share - 2007
Table 8 - BayanTel’s fixed-line subscribers - 2000 - 2001; 2006 - 2008
Table 9 - Innove (Globe Telecom) fixed-line subscribers - 2002 - 2007; 2010
Table 10 - Fixed lines in service and penetration - 1994 - 2011
Table 11 - Total SAS lines installed by operators at target date
Table 12 - Fixed lines installed versus lines in operation - 1995 - 2009
Table 13 - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2011
Table 14 - Broadband subscribers and households - 2009
Table 15 - Broadband subscribers by major service provider - 2008; 2010
Table 16 - Internet users - 1996 - 2011
Table 17 - Internet subscribers - 1996 - 2011
Table 18 - Overview of Internet market - 2009
Table 19 - International Internet bandwidth - 2002; 2005 - 2009
Table 20 - DSL subscribers - 2001 - 2009
Table 21 - Number of registered ISPs - 2001 - 2009
Table 22 - PLDT broadband subscribers and market share - 2005 - 2010
Table 23 - PLDT’s DSL subscribers - 2001 - 2010
Table 24 - Globe Telecom’s broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2010
Table 25 - Key broadcasting statistics - 2009
Table 26 - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate - 1992; 1994; 1996 - 2011
Table 27 - Mobile market share by operator - June 2010
Table 28 - Mobile services revenue - 1993 - 2009
Table 29 - 3G mobile subscribers and market share - 2006 - 2009
Table 30 - 3G mobile subscribers by operator - March 2009
Table 31 - Mobile market share by operator - June 2010
Table 32 - Mobile market share by operator - 2008
Table 33 - Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2009
Table 34 - Globe Telecom subscribers - 2001 - 2010
Table 35 -PLDT subscribers - 2006 - 2010
Table 36 - PLDT mobile operators - monthly ARPU by contract type - September 2009
Table 37 - Piltel (TNT) subscribers - 2002 - 2009
Table 38 - Digitel subscribers - 2005 - 2010
Table 39 - Forecast fixed line subscribers - 2015; 2020
Table 40 - Forecast Internet subscribers - 2015; 2020
Table 41 - Forecast mobile subscribers - 2015; 2020
Exhibit 1 - Major submarine cables with landing points in the Philippines - 2009

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