PLDT said its capital expenditure (Capex) will be reduced by 20-25 percent from the original Capex guidance of Php83 billion or $1.64 billion for 2020.
“Capex will probably be pared down, with anywhere between 20 percent to 25 percent of the budget deferred, suggesting that Capex levels will be in the Php60 plus billion level,” PLDT said in a statement.
PLDT was planning to spend P64.6 billion towards network / IT Capex to support mobile data traffic, P18.5 billion towards business Capex for broadband installations and P5.5 billion for programmed business Capex in 2020.
PLDT engineers are facing challenges in the rolling out or servicing of its mobile network due to the spread of coronavirus epidemic.
PLDT said the network roll-out for the balance of 2020 will prioritize projects that support the changing demand profile of customers, and to help corporates revive their business under these new conditions.
PLDT and Smart expanded and upgraded their fixed and mobile networks, and implemented projects worth around Php19.6 billion in the first quarter of 2020.
PLDT has increased the coverage of its fixed network to 7.5 million homes passed, 4 percent more than end-2019. Its total fixed-line capacity grew to 3.58 million ports, up 2 percent from end-2019, with 1.6 million ports of fiber-powered broadband available for new customers.
The total footprint of PLDT’s fiber optic network expanded by 5 percent to about 338,500 kilometers of fiber cables.
Smart improved its mobile data coverage by adding 1,400 new 4G base stations, raising the total to about 26,000 from 2019. It also added about 700 3G base stations, raising the total to 14,400.
Opensignal found that Smart remained ahead of competitors such as Globe Telecom in terms of Video Experience, Upload and Download Speed Experience, Voice App Experience and Games Experience.
PLDT reallocated Smart’s assigned 1800 MHz frequencies from 2G to 4G. PLDT converted 3,785 2G base stations into 4G base stations, increasing the mobile data capacity of Smart’s network.
“1800 MHz is the most commonly used 4G frequency on most smartphones today. This shift will benefit many 4G smartphone users,” said Mario G. Tamayo, senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering of PLDT and Smart.
PLDT said service revenues rose 9 percent to Php41.5 billion in the first quarter of 2020 — driven by data and broadband services.
PLDT Consumer Individual Business revenue rose 20 percent to Php20.2 billion from the first quarter of 2019. PLDT Enterprise revenue grew 3 percent to Php10.1 billion. PLDT Home revenue rose 5 percent to Php9.6 billion.
The combined service revenues of the Consumer, Home, and Enterprise business groups grew by 11 percent to Php39.9 billion and accounted for 96 percent of total revenues. The International and Carrier Business Group posted Php1.6 billion of service revenues, 25 percent lower than the prior year.
“The solid performance of our major business groups in 2019 flowing smoothly into the first quarter of 2020 provides us the firm footing needed to face the tough trials created by the pandemic in 2020 and beyond,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart President and CEO, and, PLDT Chief Revenue Officer.
PLDT said mobile Internet revenues jumped nearly 40 percent. The share of data revenues rose to 72 percent from 65 percent in Q1 2019 and 44 percent in 2018.