AsiaWatch: Slump Slows Growth, India Hot
Wireless and broadband boost PLDT
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) has announced a 5 percent hike in revenues to 142.9 billion Philippines Pesos (US$2.9 billion) and an 8 percent year-on-year increase in net income to PHP38.1 billion ($780 million) for 2008, and has guided for 2009 capital expenditure of PHP27 billion ($554 million), up slightly on 2008's outlay, despite the global economic crisis.
PLDT’s wireless businesses, Smart and Piltel, which ended the year with 35.2 million subscribers in total, once again led the way with an 8 percent increase in annual revenues to PHP93.6 billion ($1.9 billion) and a 10 percent hike in EBITDA to PHP60.6 billion ($1.24 billion).
PLDT also reported sharp growth in its infant broadband business. Revenues from broadband and Internet services increased 45 percent to PHP11 billion ($226 million) as the DSL subscriber base grew by 168,000 to 432,000 by the end of the year, while revenues from SmartBro, Smart’s wireless broadband service, grew 81 percent to PHP4.3 billion ($88.2 million). The number of SmartBro subscribers also grew by 81 percent to 547,000 (547,000).
This growth in broadband is in line with predictions made by Pyramid Research that broadband usage in the Philippines would take off with the introduction of wireless broadband services. (See Philippines on Brink of Broadband Boom.)
True reports Q4 loss
In Thailand, True Corp. plc , the country’s only integrated carrier, has returned a fourth-quarter net loss of 1.19 billion Baht ($32.8 million), though this was better than analysts had expected, according to a report from Reuters. However, it's in stark contrast to the THB574 million ($15.2 million) profit recorded for the same quarter in 2007 and reflects the negative impact the global economic crisis is having in Thailand, which has been one of the worst affected countries in Asia/Pacific.
But that isn't stopping the carriers from spending. Despite the difficult climate, Advanced Info Service plc (AIS) , Thailand's largest mobile operator, has told reporters it's willing to invest THB60 billion ($1.7 billion) to build out a 3G network during the next three years should it secure a 3G license, according to a separate Reuters report.
AlcaLu wins optical deal with Tata
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) has secured a seven-year deal with Indian carrier Tata Teleservices Ltd. for the provision of the carrier’s optical multi-node solution to enhance its optical backbone. The solution will be deployed as part of Tata’s further development of its 2G network, which covers 22 states and around 60 million people. (See AlcaLu Wins Tata Deal.)
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