power and water

Duterte has ‘given us a mission,’ says Pangilinan on closure threat

Aika Rey
PLDT chief Manny Pangilinan says upload speed for Smart is targetted to be amped up to 30 megabits per second

Instead of gloating over the threat to close down Smart Communications, PLDT chief Manny Pangilinan said President Rodrigo Duterte has “given them a mission.”

“He’s given us a mission: ‘Improve your services by December.’ We should be laser-focused in achieving better services by yearend,” Pangilinan said in a media briefing Thursday, August 6. Smart is PLDT’s wireless subsidiary.

“‘Wag na nating, kulayan. ‘Yan ang kaniyang (Duterte) mandate ‘di ba. (Let’s not politicize the issue. That’s his mandate, right?)” Pangilinan added.

Pangilinan said that he welcomed any move for the National Telecommunications Commission to provide a standard as to which the telco would be judged in terms of service improvement.

“We’d like to agree with our regulator as to what standards we will be judged, the level of service we ought to deliver to our people,” he said.

Pangilinan cited coverage, upload speed, download speed, latency, and video experience as part of the metrics that regulators could include in judging their performance.

“You don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Pangilinan. He added, “look at what Ookla is doing, Open Signal; because those are the standards by which other telcos in the region and elsewhere are being judged. If you want us to be compared in those of standards and at the same time, the cost of the service, we’re willing to be judged on those basis. Why not?”

Pangilinan said that the group was eyeing 96% coverage for their 4G network by the end of the year, higher than the current 95%.

Upload speed, meanwhile, was targeted to increase to over 30 megabits per second (Mbps) from the average 22 Mbps by the end of the year to achieve a speed comparable to Thailand and Vietnam.

The group has also engaged with 6 companies to build 181 towers.

PLDT in the green

In a disclosure, PLDT reported a 5% upswing in its core profit to P13.9 billion for the first 6 months of the year.

PLDT announced its bottomline slightly grew as service revenues jumped 8% to P82.8 billion year-on-year. Reported income was at P12.3 billion, inching 1% from last year’s P12.24 billion.

Data and broadband services accounted for 71% of total revenues at P59 billion, growing 18% from last year. The mobile internet segment grew strong by 34% at P29.3 billion, while home broadband gained 11% more revenues to P15.3 billion.

Fixed and mobile voice calls, messaging, and international voice calls, meanwhile, were all in the red, down by 8% to P18.3 billion, 22% to P3.5 billion, and 13% to P2.1 billion, respectively.

Despite the gains, PLDT announced that its capital expenditure will shrink by 15.67% to P70 billion for the remainder of the year.

The P13 billion difference from the original spending plan of P83 billion would be used for 2021. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.