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Philippines - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of the trends and developments in the telecommunications and digital media markets in Philippines. Subjects covered include:


  • Key Statistics;
  • Markets, Industry Overviews and Analysis;
  • Scenario forecasts (fixed, mobile, internet subscribers);
  • Regulatory Environment;
  • Major Telecom Operators  (Mobile, Fixed, Broadband);
  • Infrastructure development – national and international;
  • Mobile Voice and Data Markets;
  • Internet, including VoIP and IPTV;
  • Broadband services (DSL, cable, FttH, wireless);
  • Digital Media.

Researcher:- Peter Evans
Current publication date:- July 2013 (19th Edition)

Executive Summary

Positive signs for mobile broadband market in Philippines, as smartphone and tablet sales surge

Growth in the mobile segment of the Philippines telecom market has been moderating after years of strong exapnsion. Initially the slowing in the market was partly due to a general downturn in the Philippine economy; however, even as the economy picked up, it became obvious that mobile subscriber numbers were continuing to increase but at a generally slower pace. Mobile revenue growth also down in what has for many years been a highly competitive market. Into 2013 the Philippines had over 100 million mobile subscribers. Penetration, having eased past the 100% milestone, had moved to 112% by March 2013. Ongoing annual subscriber growth of between 5% and 10% looked likely.

Clearly the economy will be an important factor in the continued expansion of the Philippine telecom sector. Earlier on, the recession in the US, its main trading partner, had hit exports hard but the country seemed to have generally overcome this setback. Following the big ‘down’ year in 2009, the country’s GDP growth bounced back up again in 2010 reaching almost 8% (even exceeding the 31-year high of 7.3% in 2007). It then fell back to under 4% in 2011. The IMF estimated growth of almost 7% in 2012. Annual growth in the range 5%-6% looked likely to occur in the short term at least.

Despite mobile subscriber expansion easing, the operators were continuing to talk positively about the market’s potential. Importantly, it was the mobile segment that remained central to the wider development of the country’s telecom sector. Although the sector was facing challenges there was clearly some energy remaining in it as the major operators rolled out their 3G mobile offerings and looked for improved revenue streams. In 2012 there was also the initial launching of 4G/LTE services by both PLDT’s Smart and Globe Telecom, reflecting a general optimism in the wider telecom market.

In the meantime the most encouraging news has been the increased interest in broadband services, with the major players in the local telecom market starting to invest heavily in the expansion of broadband access and looking at both wired and wireless broadband platforms to provide coverage. The demand for faster internet access was increasing rapidly in 2012 and into 2013. Around 80% of all internet connections were already broadband. Overall broadband penetration remained relatively low, however, with only around seven broadband services for every 100 people in the country by the start of 2012. A surge in the sale of smartphones and tablets suggested increasing demand ahead for mobile data services.

The country’s fixed-line subscriber penetration has remained essentially stagnant, even suffering decline at times. It has certainly been a long period of difficulties for the fixed-line operators. Despite the concerted effort of both the government and the operators to expand the national fixed network, fixed-line teledensity stood at just 4% in 2012; only a little more than half of all Philippine towns and cities had a basic fixed telephone service by that stage.

Key highlights

  • Growth in mobile subscribers in the Philippines has slowed by 2012 but was still managing to grow by around 10% annually;
  • Growth in 2013/2014 was likely to come in under 10%;
  • Mobile penetration had reached 112% by March 2013;
  • Although growth in the SMS market had peaked, Filipinos were reported to still be sending around two billion SMS messages every day;
  • The country remained a global leader in SMS volumes and usage levels;
  • Broadband internet access in the Philippines had witnessed a six year run of strong subscriber growth;
  • There were almost seven million broadband subscribers in the country by early 2013; however, this still only represented around 7% of the population;
  • The fixed-line market had effectively lost direction, with no growth expected in the short term;
  • Local media company ABS-CBS Corp was moving to become the ‘third player’ in the country’s telecom market;
  • The Philippine telecom sector continues to be an important element in the local economy, contributing over 10% to the country’s GDP. 

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key Statistics
    • 1.1 Country overview
      • 1.1.1 Background
      • 1.1.2 Economy
  • 2. Telecommunications Market
    • 2.1 Overview
    • 2.2 PLDT’s acquisition of Digitel
    • 2.3 Background to development
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 Regulatory authorities
      • 3.1.1 National Telecommunications Commission (NTC)
      • 3.1.2 Commission on Information and Communications Technology (CICT)
      • 3.1.3 Proposed Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)
    • 3.2 Telecom sector liberalisation
    • 3.3 Foreign ownership
      • 3.3.1 Court ruling on PLDT case
      • 3.3.2 SEC issues new rules
    • 3.4 Regulatory developments – 2012 / 2013
      • 3.4.1 Network sharing
      • 3.4.2 Anti-cable tapping law
      • 3.4.3 Spectrum issues
      • 3.4.4 Approval of frequency sharing/transfers
      • 3.4.5 Reallocation of spectrum blocked by court decision
    • 3.5 Regulatory developments – 2011 and earlier
      • 3.5.1 Interconnection
      • 3.5.2 Release of spectrum
      • 3.5.3 Regulator’s fees
      • 3.5.4 Broadband speed
      • 3.5.5 Interconnection fees
  • 4. Major Operators
    • 4.1 Overview
    • 4.2 ABS-CBN aiming to be ‘third player’
    • 4.3 Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT)
      • 4.3.1 Overview
      • 4.3.2 Foreign ownership issue
      • 4.3.3 Financials
      • 4.3.4 PLDT’s fixed-line operations
      • 4.3.5 PLDT’s mobile operations
      • 4.3.6 PLDT’s broadband operations
      • 4.3.7 Globe Telecom
      • 4.3.8 Digitel/Sun Cellular
      • 4.3.9 Bayantel
      • 4.3.10 Other operators
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview
    • 5.2 National infrastructure
      • 5.2.1 Overview
      • 5.2.2 Fixed-line statistics
      • 5.2.3 Globe Telecom’s national fixed-line licence
    • 5.3 Background: Service Area Scheme (SAS)
    • 5.4 National fibre optic networks
      • 5.4.1 Background
      • 5.4.2 Developments – 2012 / 2013
    • 5.5 Next Generation Networks (NGNs)
      • 5.5.1 PLDT
      • 5.5.2 ETPI
    • 5.6 International infrastructure
      • 5.6.1 International gateways
      • 5.6.2 Submarine cable networks
      • 5.6.3 Satellite systems
    • 5.7 Infrastructure developments
      • 5.7.1 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
      • 5.7.2 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
      • 5.7.3 Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Broadband market overview
    • 6.2 Background
    • 6.3 Broadband and Internet statistics
    • 6.4 Regulatory issues
      • 6.4.1 Broadband quality
      • 6.4.2 Minimum internet speeds
      • 6.4.3 Hackers
      • 6.4.4 IPv6
    • 6.5 National Broadband Network (NBN)
    • 6.6 PC market
    • 6.7 Broadband platforms
      • 6.7.1 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL)
      • 6.7.2 Cable modem
      • 6.7.3 Fibre to the Home (FttH)
      • 6.7.4 Wireless broadband
    • 6.8 Broadband over power lines
    • 6.9 Internet market overview
      • 6.9.1 Role of Internet in the Philippines
      • 6.9.2 Cloud computing
      • 6.9.3 Cybercrime legislation
      • 6.9.4 Social networking
      • 6.9.5 Internet exchanges
      • 6.9.6 Internet regulations
      • 6.9.7 E-commerce
    • 6.10 Major broadband service providers and ISPs
      • 6.10.1 Overview
    • 6.11 Internet via satellite
    • 6.12 IP networks
    • 6.13 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services
  • 7. Digital Media / Digital Economy
    • 7.1 Broadcasting
      • 7.1.1 Overview of broadcasting market in the Philippines
      • 7.1.2 Market development
      • 7.1.3 Regulatory developments
      • 7.1.4 PLDT
      • 7.1.5 Digital TV services
  • 8. Mobile Communications
    • 8.1 Overview of the Philippines’ mobile market
    • 8.2 Mobile operators
    • 8.3 Mobile statistics
    • 8.4 Mobile ARPU
    • 8.5 Regulatory issues
      • 8.5.1 Proposed fines for poor services levels
      • 8.5.2 Compulsory SIM registration
      • 8.5.3 Per-pulse billing dispute
      • 8.5.4 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 8.5.5 Spectrum User Fees (SUF)
      • 8.5.6 SMS-related issues
      • 8.5.7 ‘Illegal’ use of frequencies
    • 8.6 Mobile technologies
      • 8.6.1 Third Generation (3G) mobile
      • 8.6.2 Long Term Evolution (LTE) /Fourth Generation (4G) networks
      • 8.6.3 Smartphones
      • 8.6.4 AppBridge project
    • 8.7 Mobile voice services
      • 8.7.1 Prepaid cards
    • 8.8 Mobile data services
      • 8.8.1 Short Message Service (SMS)
      • 8.8.2 Multimedia Message Service (MMS)
      • 8.8.3 Mobile TV
      • 8.8.4 Data Centres
    • 8.9 Mobile content and applications
      • 8.9.1 Overview
      • 8.9.2 Content development
      • 8.9.3 M-commerce
  • 9. Forecasts
    • 9.1 Forecasts – fixed-line market – 2015; 2020
    • 9.2 Forecasts – Internet services – 2015; 2020
    • 9.3 Forecasts – mobile services – 2015; 2020
    • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2013
    • Table 2 – Telephone network statistics – 2012
    • Table 3 – Internet user statistics – 2012
    • Table 4 – Broadband statistics – 2012
    • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – March 2013
    • Table 6 – National telecommunications authorities
    • Table 7 – Philippines’ GDP real growth rate – 2006 - 2014
    • Table 8 – Mobile market share - major operators – March 2013
    • Table 9 – Mobile operators, subscribers and annual change – March 2013
    • Table 10 – Mobile subscribers by operator – 2009 - 2011
    • Table 11 – PLDT fixed-line subscribers – 2001; 2005 - 2012
    • Table 12 – PLDT mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2013
    • Table 13 – Smart Communications: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 14 – PLDT – mobile ARPU by operator/contract type – March 2012
    • Table 15 –Smart mobile subscribers – 2010 - 2012
    • Table 16 – Smart – prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers – March 2012
    • Table 17 – Smart – prepaid and postpaid mobile ARPU – March 2012
    • Table 18 –Talk ‘N Text mobile subscribers – 2002 - 2012
    • Table 19 – Red Mobile (CURE) subscribers – 2009 - 2012
    • Table 20 – Historical - Globe Telecom mobile subscribers – 2001 - 2004
    • Table 21 – Globe Telecom mobile subscribers – 2005- 2013
    • Table 22 – Globe Telecom – mobile subscribers - prepaid v. postpaid – March 2013
    • Table 23 – Global Telecom: 3G subscribers – 2012 - 2013
    • Table 24 – Historical - Globe Telecom fixed-line subscribers – 2002 - 2005
    • Table 25 – Globe Telecom fixed-line subscribers – 2006 - 2012
    • Table 26 – Globe Telecom broadband subscribers – 2006 - 2013
    • Table 27 – Globe Telecom broadband subscribers - wired v. wireless – March 2013
    • Table 28 – Digitel mobile subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 29 – Digitel –mobile subscribers- prepaid and postpaid – March 2012
    • Table 30 – Digitel fixed-line subscribers – 2001; 2007; 2010 - 2012
    • Table 31 – Bayantel’s fixed-line subscribers – 2000 - 2001; 2006 - 2012
    • Table 32 –Historical - Fixed lines in service and penetration – 1994 - 2004
    • Table 33 – Fixed lines in service and penetration – 2005 - 2013
    • Table 34 – Fixed lines – proportion of urban and residential subscribers – 2007 - 2012
    • Table 35 – Historical - Fixed lines installed versus lines in operation – 1995 - 2004
    • Table 36 – Fixed lines installed versus lines in operation – 2005 - 2013
    • Table 37 – Fixed lines - installed and subscribers by operator - 2012
    • Table 38 – Total lines installed by operator by SAS target date
    • Table 39 – Historical - Fixed broadband subscribers – 2001 - 2004
    • Table 40 – Fixed broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 41 – Mobile broadband subscribers – 2009 - 2012
    • Table 42 – Broadband subscribers and households – 2012
    • Table 43 – Broadband subscribers by major service provider – 2009 - 2012
    • Table 44 – Historical - Internet users – 1996 - 2004
    • Table 45 – Internet users – 2005 - 2013
    • Table 46 – Historical - Internet subscribers – 1996 - 2004
    • Table 47 - Internet subscribers – 2005-2013
    • Table 48– Overview of internet market statistics – 2012
    • Table 49 – International internet bandwidth – 2000 - 2012
    • Table 50 – Percentage of households with computer – 2002 - 2012
    • Table 51 – Historical - DSL subscribers – 2001 - 2004
    • Table 52 – DSL subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 53 – Cable modem subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 54 – Historical - Number of registered ISPs – 2001 - 2004
    • Table 55 – Number of registered ISPs – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 56 – PLDT broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 57 – Historical - PLDT’s DSL subscribers – 2001 - 2004
    • Table 58 – PLDT’s DSL subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 59 – PLDT’s total fixed broadband subscribers – 2008 - 2012
    • Table 60 – PLDT’s wireless broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2012
    • Table 61 – Smart’s wireless broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2012
    • Table 62 – Digitel’s broadband subscribers – 2011 - 2012
    • Table 63 – Globe Telecom’s broadband subscribers – 2007 - 2013
    • Table 64 – Globe Telecom’s DSL subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 65 – Globe Telecom’s wireless subscribers – 2009 - 2013
    • Table 66 – Key broadcasting statistics - 2012
    • Table 67 – Historical - Total mobile subscribers and penetration rate –1994 - 2004
    • Table 68 – Total mobile subscribers and penetration rate –2005 - 2013
    • Table 69 – 3G mobile subscribers – 2012 – 2013
    • Table 70 – Mobile market share - major operators – 2011
    • Table 71 – Mobile market share - major operators – March 2013
    • Table 72 – Historical - Mobile services revenue – 1993 - 2004
    • Table 73 – Mobile services revenue – 2005 - 2011
    • Table 74 – Total SMS messages – 2003 - 2012
    • Table 75 – Forecast fixed line subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Table 76 – Forecast Internet subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Table 77 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2015; 2020
    • Chart 1 - Fixed lines in service and annual change - 2000 – 2013
    • Chart 2 - Fixed line operators - market share - 2012
    • Chart 3 - Fixed broadband subscribers - 2005 – 2012
    • Chart 4 - Mobile broadband subscribers - 2009 - 2012
    • Chart 5 - Broadband subscribers by major service provider - 2009 – 2012
    • Chart 6 – PLDT’s broadband subscribers - 2008 - 2012
    • Chart 7 - Globe Telecom’s broadband subscribers - 2009 - 2013
    • Chart 8 - Total mobile subscribers and annual growth - 2000 – 2013
    • Chart 9 - Mobile market share - major operators – 2011
    • Chart 10 - Mobile market share - major operators - March 2013
    • Exhibit 1 – Major submarine cables with landing points in the Philippines - 2011

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