Saturday, June 22, 2024

Converge unveils ‘game-changing’ prepaid fiber offering for mass market

Fiber broadband provider Converge ICT Solutions Inc. formally announced on Thursday, March 16, a new low-cost prepaid fiber service targeted at the mass market.

Converge CEO Dennis Anthony Uy during the launch of Surf2Sawa prepaid fiber broadband

Called Surf2Sawa (S2S), the prepaid fiber product is directly aimed at the entry-level segment who cannot avail post-paid fiber broadband service for their homes.

“It is our belief that digital access is now a right of everyone. Thus, we want to provide our people with the Internet that they don’t just deserve but they can afford as well. In this digital age, we want to make sure that no one will be left behind,” Converge CEO and founder Dennis Anthony Uy said.

Uy said S2S is now available in over 400 cities and municipalities across the country, including key areas in Bulacan, Batangas, Quezon, Bicol, Panay, and Negros.

“We are seeing good traction in the uptake of our prepaid fiber with an average month-on-month growth of 20% in total subscribers since we rolled-out last year. We are able to do this through our partnership with the now micro-entrepreneurs in the communities,” said Uy, as he noted that the 90 percent of mobile subscribers in the country are on pre-paid.

S2S provides fiber Internet without data cap at 25 Mbps speed per household. It is offered in the following packages: P50 for one day, P200 for 7 days, P380 for 15 days, and P700 for 30 days unlimited data.

There is also one-time installation fee of P1,000, which already includes the cost for the router. Only six devices can connect all at once per household.

During the launch at the company’s headquarters in Pasig City, Converge also reported “solid” financial and operating results for the full year 2022, on the back of robust subscriber growth across all segments and peak deployment of its pure fiber network.

Consolidated revenues jumped 27.3% year-on-year to P33.7 billion while EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) grew to P19.3 billion with margins expanding to a record 57.3% level while net income registered at P7.4 billion. These surpass the 25% revenue growth guidance and 55% EBITDA margin target for the year.

Completing its financial trifecta is its industry-leading Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) of 15.6% at the end of 2022.

Revenues from the residential business grew by 27.4% year-on-year to P29.5 billion at end-December 2022, driven by an 11% growth in subscriber base.

On the other hand, enterprise revenues increased by 26.4% YoY to P4.2 billion during the same period, mostly from the strong revenue growth in the small and medium enterprise (SME) and wholesale segments.

Meanwhile, Converge continued to aggressively expand its network with total homes passed reaching 14.9 million at the end of 2022, accounting for 56.2% of total Filipino households. This is ahead of the company’s commitment to reach 55% of the population by 2023.

Total ports deployed as of end-2022 also reached its peak at eight million across the country, staking its claim as the country’s broadest fiber-to-the-home network.

“We are truly pleased to achieve our goal of reaching the majority of Filipino homes with our world-class pure fiber network. Now, we hope to serve the broadest number of our people by making connectivity more accessible to the lower income segment of the population,” said Uy.

Converge said it also continues to invest in backbone improvements with its early adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technology into the conduct of its network operations.

The integration of AI technology, it said, brings various organizational improvements covering repairmen dispatching, infrastructure and hardware overheating, and the notification of relevant internal network watchmen.

The company’s network investments resulted in various improving operating metrics. The portion of service affecting tickets to total network tickets declined by almost 50% this 4Q2022.

Additionally, with the inclusion of AI into the conduct of its network operations, the company’s “Mean Time To Escalate” improved by 42%, allowing it to attend to network-related problems quicker.

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