PLDT jacks up 2019 capex by P20B to fund LTE, broadband expansion

Telco giant PLDT will be spending a total of P78.4 billion in capital expenditures (capex) this year to finance the expansion of its network and information communication technology capabilities.

PLDT chair Manuel V. Pangilinan

PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan said it is ramping up its spending to further enhance the delivery of its wireless and broadband services.

“We’re guiding capex at the number of P78.4 billion which is an increase of P20 billion over the P58 billion realized in 2018,” Pangilinan said in a press briefing held in Makati City on Thursday, March 8.

PLDT will spend most of its capex for expansion of its LTE and 3G mobile services, as well as its fixed broadband network.

It also eyes to fund the installation of its last-mile and customer-premises equipment such as modems and optical network units for the delivery of broadband Internet to its residential customers.

“We anticipate a bigger EBITDA (earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortization) level in 2019 that will help,” Pangilinan said.

“There are still a few asset sales that may happen in the course of 2019 which would help fund whatever that might be needed. We do have a lot of headroom for some borrowings. Hopefully not as much incremental debt but if we need to, PLDT has some headroom to borrow,” he added.

The coverage of PLDT’s fiber broadband network has reached 6.3 million homes last year which is 57 percent higher year-on-year to 4.01 million homes in 2017. Total capacity reached 2.6 million ports with about 1.0 million ports available for sale.

PLDT also added nearly 70,000 kilometers more of fiber cables, expanding its total fiber network to over 244,000 kilometers.

For its mobile services, its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications has increased the number of LTE base stations by more than 86 percent to about 16,200 in 2018. It has also increased its 3G base stations by over 17 percent to about 11,500.

The deployment has enabled Smart to meet its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to provide mobile broadband in at least 90 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities.

PLDT has allocated P58 billion in capex last year for the rollout of its fixed and mobile networks.

PLDT’s reported net income for 2018 stood at P19.2 billion increasing by 41 percent year-on-year compared to P13.4 billion for the previous period.

Its consolidated service revenues increased by 5 percent at P149.4 billion with data and broadband services up by 37 percent at P90.2 billion contributing 60 percent of the total net income. — Aerol John Pateña (PNA)

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