Leading integrated telco network PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Communications posted stable revenues year-on-year in spite of the headwinds the industry continued to face in the first quarter of the year.
PLDT’s Individual Wireless segment registered revenues of ₱19.8 billion in the first quarter of 2023, despite the impact of SIM registration, high inflation and the seasonal dip in consumer spending after the Christmas holidays.
“For this quarter, there were two external factors that affected all telcos. The first one is SIM registration, which brought about a significant reduction in new activations. The second one is record-high inflation, which hit 8.7% in January–the highest in 14 years and more than double compared to the inflation we had in the same quarter of last year,” said Francis E. Flores, senior vice president and head of Consumer Business Group – Individual.
“While showing some signs of easing, inflation remained elevated in February and March, and we felt that affecting our subscribers and their wallets, especially subscribers of our value brand TNT, who were more affected by these headwinds,” Flores added.
Despite these factors, PLDT’s wireless arm saw mobile data revenues growing by 4% to ₱17.0 billion as data usage per subscriber and data traffic continued to register year-on-year increases.
In the first quarter, mobile data traffic on Smart’s network rose 18% to 1,191 Petabytes, demonstrating increased usage among customers and improving year-on-year trends, and helping arrest the decline of revenues compared to the same period last year.
Average monthly mobile data usage per subscriber grew by 15% to 10.6 GB in the first quarter of 2023, from 9.2 GB for the full year 2022.
Underpinning this level of performance is Smart’s nationwide wireless network, which has once again been recognized for delivering the country’s fastest download speeds by Ookla during the first quarter of 2023, after being dominating as the Philippines’ Best Mobile Network for Q1-Q2 and Q3-Q4 2022. To earn these citations, a mobile operator must lead in two crucial Ookla Speedtest AwardsTM categories, namely Fastest Mobile Network and Best Mobile Coverage, for the same periods.
This network has enabled Smart and TNT’s strong campaigns: Smart’s “Live More Today” brand campaign, which has helped deliver Smart’s stronger brand promise, connect Smart with the target market and differentiate it from competitors, and TNT’s ‘Pinakamalakas Kahit San sa Pinas’ campaign, which highlights the company’s drive to connect and serve value-seeking Filipinos across the country with Smart’s widest LTE coverage and fastest speeds.
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