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Philippines - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Positive signs for mobile broadband market in Philippines, as smartphone and tablet sales surge

Growth in the mobile segment of the Philippines telecom market has been moderating after years of strong exapnsion. Initially the slowing in the market was partly due to a general downturn in the Philippine economy; however, even as the economy picked up, it became obvious that mobile subscriber numbers were continuing to increase but at a generally slower pace. Mobile revenue growth also down in what has for many years been a highly competitive market. Into 2013 the Philippines had over 100 million mobile subscribers. Penetration, having eased past the 100% milestone, had moved to 112% by March 2013. Ongoing annual subscriber growth of between 5% and 10% looked likely.

Clearly the economy will be an important factor in the continued expansion of the Philippine telecom sector. Earlier on, the recession in the US, its main trading partner, had hit exports hard but the country seemed to have generally overcome this setback. Following the big ‘down’ year in 2009, the country’s GDP growth bounced back up again in 2010 reaching almost 8% (even exceeding the 31-year high of 7.3% in 2007). It then fell back to under 4% in 2011. The IMF estimated growth of almost 7% in 2012. Annual growth in the range 5%-6% looked likely to occur in the short term at least.

Despite mobile subscriber expansion easing, the operators were continuing to talk positively about the market’s potential. Importantly, it was the mobile segment that remained central to the wider development of the country’s telecom sector. Although the sector was facing challenges there was clearly some energy remaining in it as the major operators rolled out their 3G mobile offerings and looked for improved revenue streams. In 2012 there was also the initial launching of 4G/LTE services by both PLDT’s Smart and Globe Telecom, reflecting a general optimism in the wider telecom market.

In the meantime the most encouraging news has been the increased 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 faster internet access was increasing rapidly in 2012 and into 2013. Around 80% of all internet connections were already broadband. Overall broadband penetration remained relatively low, however, with only around seven broadband services for every 100 people in the country by the start of 2012. A surge in the sale of smartphones and tablets suggested increasing demand ahead for mobile data services.

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 4% in 2012; only a little more than half of all Philippine towns and cities had a basic fixed telephone service by that stage.

Key highlights

Growth in mobile subscribers in the Philippines has slowed by 2012 but was still managing to grow by around 10% annually;
Growth in 2013/2014 was likely to come in under 10%;
Mobile penetration had reached 112% by March 2013;
Although growth in the SMS market had peaked, Filipinos were reported to still be sending around two billion SMS messages every day;
The country remained a global leader in SMS volumes and usage levels;
Broadband internet access in the Philippines had witnessed a six year run of strong subscriber growth;
There were almost seven million broadband subscribers in the country by early 2013; however, this still only represented around 7% of the population;
The fixed-line market had effectively lost direction, with no growth expected in the short term;
Local media company ABS-CBS Corp was moving to become the ‘third player’ in the country’s telecom market;
The Philippine telecom sector continues to be an important element in the local economy, contributing over 10% to the country’s GDP.

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.


  • EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
  • KEY STATISTICS
    • Table Country statistics - 2013
    • Table Telephone network statistics - 2012
    • Table Internet user statistics - 2012
    • Table Broadband statistics - 2012
    • Table Mobile statistics - March 2013
    • Table National telecommunications authorities
    • COUNTRY OVERVIEW
      • Background
      • Economy
        • Table Philippines' GDP real growth rate - 2006 - 2014
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS MARKET
    • OVERVIEW
    • PLDT'S ACQUISITION OF DIGITEL
    • BACKGROUND TO DEVELOPMENT
  • 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
      • SEC issues new rules
    • REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - 2012 / 2013
      • Network sharing
      • Anti-cable tapping law
      • Spectrum issues
      • Approval of frequency sharing/transfers
      • Reallocation of spectrum blocked by court decision
    • REGULATORY DEVELOPMENTS - 2011 AND EARLIER
      • Interconnection
      • Release of spectrum
      • Regulator's fees
      • Broadband speed
      • Interconnection fees
  • MAJOR OPERATORS
    • OVERVIEW
      • Table Mobile market share - major operators - March 2013
      • Table Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change - March 2013
      • Table Mobile subscribers by operator - 2009 - 2011
    • ABS-CBN AIMING TO BE `THIRD PLAYER'
    • PHILIPPINE LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE COMPANY (PLDT)
      • Overview
      • Foreign ownership issue
      • Financials
      • PLDT's fixed-line operations
        • Table PLDT fixed-line subscribers - 2001; 2005 - 2012
      • PLDT's mobile operations
        • Table PLDT mobile subscribers - 2006 - 2013
        • Table Smart Communications: 3G subscribers - 2012 - 2013
        • Table PLDT - mobile ARPU by operator/contract type - March 2012
        • Table Smart mobile subscribers - 2010 – 2012
        • Table Smart - prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers - March 2012
        • Table Smart - prepaid and postpaid mobile ARPU - March 2012
        • Table Talk `N Text mobile subscribers - 2002 – 2012
        • Table Red Mobile (CURE) subscribers - 2009 - 2012
      • PLDT's broadband operations
      • Globe Telecom
        • Table Historical - Globe Telecom mobile subscribers - 2001 - 2004
        • Table Globe Telecom mobile subscribers - 2005- 2013
        • Table Globe Telecom - mobile subscribers - prepaid v. postpaid - March 2013
        • Table Global Telecom: 3G subscribers - 2012 - 2013
        • Table Historical - Globe Telecom fixed-line subscribers - 2002 - 2005
        • Table Globe Telecom fixed-line subscribers - 2006 - 2012
        • Table Globe Telecom broadband subscribers - 2006 - 2013
        • Table Globe Telecom broadband subscribers - wired v. wireless - March 2013
      • Digitel/Sun Cellular
        • Table Digitel mobile subscribers - 2005 - 2012
        • Table Digitel -mobile subscribers- prepaid and postpaid - March 2012
        • Table Digitel fixed-line subscribers - 2001; 2007; 2010 - 2012
      • Bayantel
        • Table Bayantel's fixed-line subscribers - 2000 - 2001; 2006 - 2012
      • Other operators
  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS INFRASTRUCTURE
    • OVERVIEW
    • NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • Overview
      • Fixed-line statistics
        • Table Historical - Fixed lines in service and penetration - 1994 – 2004
        • Table Fixed lines in service and penetration - 2005 - 2013
        • Table Fixed lines - proportion of urban and residential subscribers - 2007 - 2012
        • Table Historical - Fixed lines installed versus lines in operation - 1995 - 2004
        • Table Fixed lines installed versus lines in operation - 2005 - 2013
        • Table Fixed lines - installed and subscribers by operator - 2012
      • Globe Telecom's national fixed-line licence
    • BACKGROUND: SERVICE AREA SCHEME (SAS)
      • Table Total lines installed by operator by SAS target date
    • NATIONAL FIBRE OPTIC NETWORKS
      • Background
      • Developments - 2012 / 2013
    • NEXT GENERATION NETWORKS (NGNS)
      • PLDT
      • ETPI
    • INTERNATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE
      • International gateways
      • Submarine cable networks
        • Table Major submarine cables with landing points in the Philippines
      • 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
    • BROADBAND AND INTERNET STATISTICS
      • Table Historical - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2001 - 2004
      • Table Fixed broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2012
      • Table Mobile broadband subscribers - 2009 - 2012
      • Table Broadband subscribers and households - 2012
      • Table Broadband subscribers by major service provider - 2009 - 2012
      • Table Historical - Internet users - 1996 - 2004
      • Table Internet users - 2005 - 2013
      • Table Historical - Internet subscribers - 1996 - 2004
      • Table Internet subscribers - 2005-2013
      • Table Overview of internet market statistics – 2012
      • Table International internet bandwidth - 2000 - 2012
      • Table Percentage of households with computer - 2002 - 2012
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Broadband quality
      • Minimum internet speeds
      • Hackers
      • IPv6
    • NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORK (NBN)
    • PC MARKET
    • BROADBAND PLATFORMS
      • Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
        • Table Historical - DSL subscribers - 2001 - 2004
        • Table DSL subscribers - 2005 - 2012
      • Cable modem
        • Table Cable modem subscribers - 2005 - 2012
      • Fibre to the Home (FttH)
      • Wireless broadband
    • BROADBAND OVER POWER LINES
    • INTERNET MARKET OVERVIEW
      • Role of Internet in the Philippines
      • Cloud computing
      • Cybercrime legislation
      • Social networking
      • Internet exchanges
      • Internet regulations
      • E-commerce
    • MAJOR BROADBAND SERVICE PROVIDERS AND ISPS
      • Overview
        • Table Historical - Number of registered ISPs - 2001 - 2004
        • Table Number of registered ISPs - 2005 - 2012
        • Table PLDT broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2012
        • Table Historical - PLDT's DSL subscribers - 2001 - 2004
        • Table PLDT's DSL subscribers - 2005 - 2012
        • Table PLDT's total fixed broadband subscribers - 2008 - 2012
        • Table PLDT's wireless broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2012
        • Table Smart's wireless broadband subscribers - 2005 - 2012
        • Table Digitel's broadband subscribers - 2011 - 2012
        • Table Globe Telecom's broadband subscribers - 2007 - 2013
        • Table Globe Telecom's DSL subscribers - 2009 - 2013
        • Table Globe Telecom's wireless subscribers - 2009 - 2013
    • INTERNET VIA SATELLITE
    • IP NETWORKS
    • VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP) SERVICES
  • DIGITAL MEDIA / DIGITAL ECONOMY
    • BROADCASTING
      • Overview of broadcasting market in the Philippines
        • Table Key broadcasting statistics - 2012
      • Market development
      • Regulatory developments
      • PLDT
      • Digital TV services
  • 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 - 2013
      • Table 3G mobile subscribers - 2012 - 2013
      • Table Mobile market share - major operators - 2011
      • Table Mobile market share - major operators - March 2013
      • Table Historical -Mobile services revenue - 1993 - 2004
      • Table Mobile services revenue - 2005 - 2011
    • MOBILE ARPU
    • REGULATORY ISSUES
      • Proposed fines for poor services levels
      • Compulsory SIM registration
      • Per-pulse billing dispute
      • Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • Spectrum User Fees (SUF)
      • SMS-related issues
      • `Illegal' use of frequencies
    • MOBILE TECHNOLOGIES
      • Third Generation (3G) mobile
      • Long Term Evolution (LTE) /Fourth Generation (4G) networks
      • Smartphones
      • AppBridge project
    • MOBILE VOICE SERVICES
      • Prepaid cards
    • MOBILE DATA SERVICES
      • Short Message Service (SMS)
        • Table Total SMS messages - 2003 - 2012
      • Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
      • Mobile TV
      • Data Centres
    • MOBILE CONTENT AND APPLICATIONS
      • Overview
      • Content development
      • M-commerce
  • FORECASTS
    • FORECASTS - FIXED-LINE MARKET - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast fixed line subscribers - 2015; 2020
    • FORECASTS - INTERNET SERVICES - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast Internet subscribers - 2015; 2020
    • FORECASTS - MOBILE SERVICES - 2015; 2020
      • Table Forecast mobile subscribers - 2015; 2020

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