While the telecom sector in the Philippines has witnessed considerable investment and business activity since deregulation, the market has continued to fall short of its full potential. Nevertheless, there certainly has been a lot of activity, with the market often finding a different direction from what was envisaged. Despite competition from new carriers and mobile operators, PLDT has continued to be the Philippines’ dominant fixed-line and mobile provider. And as such has been a large part of the momentum in the country’s telecom market. Nevertheless, PLDT’s role has not gone unchallenged and in recent years Globe Telecom in particular has been pushing hard to overhaul the incumbent.

Over the last five years the Philippines mobile subscriber base has seen a moderate growth rate with a gradual easing of growth due to a maturing market.

A feature of the Philippines mobile market has been the near duopoly with Smart together with Globe Telecom maintaining a tight hold on the industry. Smart, in particular, as a subsidiary of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT) has a dominating presence in the market place. However Globe Telecom has bridged the gap significantly over the past two years.
The mobile networks provide more than 99% coverage of population. The local market has started to focus on value added services as a comparatively cautious rollout of 3G took place followed by the start of 4G/LTE network rollouts.

The two leaders in the mobile market, Smart Communications and Globe Telecom continued to compete vigorously in the marketplace; they were steadily improving their service quality in order to be even more competitive. The introduction of mobile broadband services was starting to provide more opportunities for expanding the sector.

A unique characteristic of the Philippines mobile market has been the large number of services available for Filipino working overseas. This is not surprising given that the national economy relies heavily on their remittances being sent back home. As with other markets throughout Asia, mobile phone ownership in the Philippines has for many years been boosted through the availability of prepaid services

There has also been good progress in the rollout of optical fibre infrastructure, although not on the national scale envisaged. In the meantime, the larger operators are building IP-based Next Generation Networks. Whilst the global financial problems presented some real challenges for the local telecom market, the negative impact seemed to have been put well behind now.
More than 80% of all internet connections were broadband-based services, representing a major shift in the broadband presence in the Philippines in recent years. Broadband subscription penetration as a proportion of the population is still only just over 11%. However after many years of sluggish growth, the broadband market in the Philippines has started to flourish. Broadband users in the Philippines have a number of high-speed internet access options available to them: Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable modem, Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), WiMAX and mobile data services. More recently, there has been a major push by market leader PLDT to offer fibre-based services; Globe has been trying to match the PLDT push where it can. Also the more recently launched mobile broadband services were providing a major and much-needed boost to the expansion. This report looks at the various projects and initiatives as the Philippine government continues to encourage the development of broadband in the country.

Whilst the overall rate of growth in broadband services in the Philippines remains strong, big questions hang over the market. Despite declining prices in both fixed and mobile broadband, this type of service is still not affordable for the majority of the population.

For more information see – Philippines - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses