PH telcos told: Make most of Wi-Fi, target youth

Chrisee Dela Paz

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PH telcos told: Make most of Wi-Fi, target youth
The youth are an interesting segment to target in the Philippines, says Sean Gowran, president and country manager of Ericsson Philippines and Pacific Islands

MANILA, Philippines – Smartphone subscriptions are seen to more than double in the next 5 years, and are expected to drive the country’s telecommunications industry dominated by two giants, data from the 2016 Ericsson Mobility Report showed. 

“By 2021, insights from the Ericsson Mobility Report indicate that the smartphone subscriptions in the country will more than double from close to 40 million in 2015 to around 90 million in 2021,” said Sean Gowran, president and country manager of Ericsson Philippines and Pacific Islands.

Mobile broadband subscription penetration for the country is seen to surge to 115% by 2021, from almost 50% last year.

“Aside from increasing affordability of smartphones and improvements in broadband coverage that our operators are working on, we think the youth segment of the market is one of the key drivers of mobile broadband growth, as they are more likely to be viewing online videos, using social networking and instant messaging apps on a daily basis,” Gowran said.  

Shift in teen viewing habits

From a global perspective, the report showed a dramatic shift in teen viewing habits. (READ: Slow mobile buffering a horror show – Ericsson)

The use of cellular data for smartphone video grew 127% in just 15 months, the Ericsson report showed.

“Over a period of 4 years (2011-2015), there has been a nearly 50% drop in the time teens spend watching TV or video on a TV screen, and in contrast, an 85% increase in time spent watching TV or video on a smartphone,” said the Ericsson report.

The youth are deemed as the most important group for operators to monitor, as they are the heaviest consumers of data for video streaming, according to Ericsson.

Gowran has a recommendation to local telcos: the youth are an interesting segment to target in the Philippines.

“In the Philippines, the youth are more likely to be daily users of social networking, instant messaging and online videos,” Gowran said.

Inching up for fixed

But compared to mobile broadband subscription penetration, the Philippines’ fixed broadband subscription penetration was just above 10% in 2015. 

“By 2021, however, we see this penetration rate going up to almost 20%,” Gowran said.

Comparing March 2016 and March 2015, the average data traffic per user for mobile broadband in Philippines grew close to 30%, compared to around 60% for Wi-Fi.

Gowran said “this is tremendous growth and we recommend that service providers consider how to include Wi-Fi as part of their overall strategy.”

The Ericsson Mobility Report is a leading analysis of mobile data traffic available, providing in-depth measurements from live networks spread around the globe.

The top 5 smartphone applications in the Philippines are Facebook, Facebook Messenger, YouTube, Google Chrome, and Google. –

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