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Philippines - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 20 Apr 2020 Update History

Report Pages: 121

Analyst: Sebastien De Rosbo

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Philippines telecommunications market. The report analyses the Telecoms Infrastructure, mobile, fixed broadband, Digital Media and Digital Economy sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Regional market comparisons
  • Telecoms Maturity Index
  • Data centres and smart Infrastructure;
  • Major players, revenues, subscribers, ARPU;
  • Broadband (FTTH, DSL);
  • Internet of Things, 5G developments
  • Mobile, broadband and mobile broadband forecasts to 2023.

Researcher:- Phil Harpur
Current publication date:- May 2019 (25th Edition)

Executive Summary

Philippines prepares to launch 5G services

A substantial amount of capital continues to be invested in building telecommunications infrastructure throughout the Philippines.

Telecommunications investment in the Philippines will continue to see increasing emphasis on supporting high speed broadband access. The bulk of the fixed services are in urban areas. The fixed line market in the Philippines remains underdeveloped and fixed line penetration continues to show stagnant growth. A major reason for this is due to the dominance of the mobile segment and the rapid expansion of the mobile broadband segment.

Over the past five to ten years and particularly more recently over the past two years there has been significant new data centre builds and additions to existing capacity as new providers enter the South East Asian data centre market. More and more people are getting online and using cloud computing services, which is driving demand for data centre services.

During the last few years, the major operators have also 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 – both fixed line and mobile. In particular, there has been good progress in the rollout of optical fibre infrastructure. PDLT announced plans to accelerate a network modernisation plan that will see it switching to fibre over the following two years.

Fixed broadband penetration in the Philippines remains relatively low mainly due to a limited number of fixed lines and the dominance of the mobile platform, which has in turn driven the mobile broadband market.

Despite declining prices in both fixed and mobile broadband, this type of service is still not affordable for the majority of the population. Operators have been pushing hard with competitive low entry-level packages, but the market continues to struggle.

The DICT has staged a pilot run of the National Fiber Backbone (NFB). It will be operated by the DICT, which will also maintain the related facilities and provide last mile connectivity in the Philippines.

Over the next five years to 2024 strong growth is expected to continue from this very small base as both major fixed broadband operators, PLDT and Globe Telecom continue with their rollouts.

Smart Communications have teamed up with Google to deploy additional Wi-Fi hubs across the country as part of a drive to provide free connections nationwide.

There has been a major push by market leader PLDT to offer fibre-based services; Globe has been trying to match the PLDT push where it can. PDLT is also deploying hybrid technology, such as G.fast, under a wider three-year program.

Mobile subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2024 due to a highly mature and highly competitive market. The market will be driven by the uptake of both 4G and eventually 5G services as operators adopt these faster services.

Mobile ARPU levels have been on a downward trend for a long time in the Philippines as competition in the mobile industry has intensified. The operators continue to engage in aggressive price competition in an effort to grab market share.

The Philippines has seen a very rapid increase in mobile broadband penetration over the past five years driven by a rising level of wireless broadband users. Strong growth is predicted over the next five years to 2024, however at a slower and declining rate as the market further matures.

The Philippines is well on its way to launching 5G services. Smart Communications activated its first 5G cell sites in Makati and is testing the platform and developing solutions such as autonomous vehicles. Globe Telecom has revealed plans to launch its 5G service in partnership with Huawei Technologies later in 2019.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus in 2020 is having a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key Developments

  • Telecommunications investment will continue to support high speed broadband access.
  • The Philippines data centre market has seen rapid recent growth.
  • Globe Telecom is now challenging PLDT in both the fixed and wireless markets.
  • Smart Communications have teamed up with Google to deploy additional Wi-Fi hubs across the country
  • The DICT has staged a pilot run of the National Fiber Backbone (NFB).
  • A smart city project off the coast of Manila has begun.
  • The Philippines has seen a rapid recent increase in mobile broadband penetration.
  • Mobile subscriber growth is expected to be relatively low over the next five years to 2023.
  • The Philippines is well on its way to launching 5G services.
  • Assessment of the global impact of COVID-19 on the telecoms sector.

Key companies mentioned in this report:

PLDT, Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, Liberty Telecom, Bayantel, Bell Telecom (BellTel), Digitel, Eastern Telecom (ETPI), Innove (Globe), PT&T, ABS-CBN Corp, Altimax, Bayantel, Broadband Philippines, Vega Telecom.

Phil Harpur
May 2019

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