By EMMIE V. ABADILLA
Despite the changing industry environment, 2019 was “another good year” for Globe Telecom Inc., which posted ₱22.3 billion earnings, up 20 percent from 2018, on ₱149.0 billion consolidated service revenues, 12 percent higher in the comparative period. Core net income likewise posted a year-on-year increase of 20 percent to ₱22.5 billion.
Gains from data across mobile, broadband and corporate data services fueled the telco’s growth, with data revenues now accounting for 71 percent of its total service revenues as more Filipinos adopt the digital lifestyle.
Consolidated EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) stood at ₱76.0 billion with EBITDA margin reached 51 percent.
“We ended 2019 with a positive set of financial results and more importantly significant gains on the network front,” announced President and CEO Ernest L. Cu. “These will help us better serve our expanded mobile and broadband customer base of over 96 million. We will continue this momentum through 2020 as we remain committed to our goal of delivering first-world internet connectivity to the Philippines.”
The telco reached a record capital expenditure (capex) of ₱51 billion last year, 18% higher than 2018 and sees another record year of reinvestment as it commits to a ₱63 billion capex in 2020.
The bulk of the 2019 capex went to data-related requirements, comprising 79 per cent, as Globe continued to invest in enabling Filipino families and businesses. It also allowed Globe to fast-track its network rollout during the year.
As of December 2019, the telco put up 139 per cent more sites versus 2018 and added more 3G and 4G base stations, putting up 28 per cent more.
As a result, Globe’s LTE download speed went up 16 per cent, upload speed improved 6 per cent while latency went up 9 per cent in the 4th quarter of 2019 although mobile data traffic shot up 58 per cent in the same period.
As the mobile segment continued to dominate the Philippine market, mobile revenues remained as Globe’s largest revenue contributor, at ₱111.8 billion, up by 12 per cent. It accounted for 75 per cent of the total service revenues led by the telco’s Prepaid brands.
Total mobile subscriber base now stands at 94.2 million, up 27 per cent from 2018.
From a product perspective, mobile data revenues generated ₱71.8 billion in 2019 from nearly ₱51.0 billion last year, mainly driven by the surging demand for video streaming, gaming apps and social media, further boosted by the g promotions for higher-value data centric plans.
Mobile data now accounts for 64% of mobile revenues from 51% a year ago. Mobile data traffic likewise leapt from 956 petabytes in 2018 to 1,699 petabytes in 2019, a 78% growth year-on-year.
Meanwhile, mobile voice and mobile SMS revenues for the period ended at ₱24.3 billion and ₱15.7 billion, lower year-on-year by 15% and 22%, respectively, as usage continues to shift towards IP/OTT-based communications.
For the Home Broadband business, revenues reached ₱21.7 billion this period, surpassing last year’s ₱18.6 billion by 17%, driven by a rising level of fixed wireless broadband users reaching close to 1.4 million, up 40% year-on-year.
Total home broadband subscriber base now stands at over 2.0 million, up 25% from a year ago. The rising popularity of Home Prepaid Wi-Fi and broadband plans bundled with the best local and international content fueled @Home broadband’s continued success.
On the other hand, Corporate Data revenues reached ₱12.8 billion as of end-December of 2019, up 9% due to higher circuit count coupled with the increase in usage for both internet and domestic services.
Revenue levels were also supported by the enterprise clients’ increasing demand for digital-enabling services to support their digital transformations, as more and more businesses pursue their digitalization journey.
Supporting these revenue streams, Globe’s total operating expenses including subsidy posted close to ₱73.0 billion for the period, or an 8% increase, leading to consolidated EBITDA to end the year at ₱76.0 billion, up 17% from 2018.