Growth slumps as duopoly overtakes Philippines

Growth for the Philippine mobile industry in 2011 was weaker than previously expected, according to BMI. The firm forecasts 110.718mn mobile subscribers in the country at the end of 2016, up from 99.830mn in 2012. The prevalence of prepaid subscriptions will continue to support subscriber growth, but a gradual improvement in the proportion of postpaid subscribers is expected as operators look at more profitable revenue streams.

Meanwhile, data from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) indicated that there were significantly more internet users in the Philippines than it had previously reported. The ITU revised its 2010 internet user data for the Philippines to 23mn, up from 6mn previously. Based on this, there will be around 39.482m internet users in the Philippines in 2016, up from 31.282mn in 2012.

The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) has released its financial and operational results for 2011, which incorporates the performance of the newly acquired Digital Telecommunications Philippines (Digitel). PLDT had 63.697mn mobile subscribers in December 2011, which dwarfed second-ranked Globe Telecom’s 30.040mn. While there was a sharp surge in PLDT’s revenue for the quarter ended December 2011 given that it has included Digitel’s performance from October 26 2011 to December 31 2011, the bottom line has not benefited much as Digitel did not have a very profitable operation.

There is evidence that growth in Southeast Asia is slowing down – largely due to China – and the Philippines is not immune to the effects. A slowdown in manufacturing export orders in China would trigger a decline in demand for manufacturing components – in particular electronics, electrical components and semiconductors – from countries such as the Philippines.

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