PLDT earmarks up to P92B to fund network expansion, ends 2020 with P24.3B net income

·3 min read

TELECOMMUNICATIONS company PLDT commits to invest in a demand-driven capital expenditure (capex) of between P88 billion and P92 billion this year to support the country’s rising demand of stable, faster and solid digital infrastructure.

PLDT’s capex in 2020 stood at P71.9 billion.

This year, PLDT aims to further expand its fiber network by 125,000 kilometers and add 1.7 million ports. This fiber infrastructure also supports Smart’s wireless networks, which cover 96 percent of the population.

PLDT’s fiber infrastructure stood at more than 429,000 kilometers at the end of 2020. PLDT had extended the reach of its fixed broadband service to cover some nine million homes, whereas the total number of available fiber-powered ports increased to four million.

Last year, Smart had also increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000, an increase of 20 percent from 2019.

As it accelerates its 5G commercial services nationwide this year, Smart plans to grow its 5G base stations by over 3,800, while expanding its LTE network by adding about 4,000 more base stations.

“Despite PLDT’s stellar performance, it is with great relief that we put 2020 behind us. It is tempting to say that we have seen the worst but 2021 comes with its own set of challenges – a worrisome

economic outlook, prolonged uncertainty on the pandemic with possible new waves, mutations and a delayed vaccine rollout and of course, the entry of heightened competition from both new and current players. But with confidence built on how we not only weathered but thrived despite the “year from hell” that was 2020, we anticipate more growth in 2021,” said Manuel Pangilinan, chairman, president and chief executive officer of PLDT.

“Anchored on the sustained demand for our data and broadband services, we expect a high single digit increase in consolidated service revenues and telco core income in the vicinity of P29 to 30 billion. We continue to invest heavily in our networks, looking at another P88 to 92 billion this year. If we are able maintain our momentum and deliver results as expected, we are prepared to consider paying out a five percent special dividend for 2021, on top of our regular dividend payout of 60 percent,” Pangilinan added.

2020 performance

PLDT ended 2020 with a net income of P24.3 billion, up eight percent from P22.52 billion in 2019.

Core income, which excludes the impact of asset sales and Voyager Innovations, rose four percent to P28.1 billion from the previous year. Consolidated service revenues climbed nine percent to P171.5 billion, the company’s highest full-year revenue that surpassed 2019’s P157.7 billion.

PLDT’s earnings last year were bolstered by data/broadband demand which grew by 18 percent to P124.5 billion.

Increased demand for connectivity for work-from-home, online learning and streaming propelled its home broadband to post a record 11 percent or P4.3 billion increase in revenues year-on-year to P41.4 billion. Data/broadband revenues now account for 80 percent of home revenues.

As the work-from-home and home schooling continues, the PLDT Home Team promised to connect more homes to the internet. It targets to hit over 100,000 monthly average installations this year.

Meanwhile, PLDT’s digital wallet PayMaya registered 28 million customers and more than 116,000 merchants. It has helped enable over 60 government agencies and units with digital payments acceptance, registering an overall 1,200 percent growth in government transaction value last year.

To further propel this growth, the firm recently launched the PayMaya Mall, which brings consumers and merchant partners together in one convenient platform through the PayMaya app.

It also pioneered the use of QR Ph and payment links for online sellers, allowing them to conveniently offer cashless payments through PayMaya via social media or chat apps such as Viber and Facebook Messenger. (JOB WITH KOC)