Mobile data drives the digital lifestyle

Staff writer
21 Jul 2015

Best Emerging Market Operator

Globe Telecom

Last year's winner:XL Axiata
Major shareholder:Ayala Corporation, SingTel, Asiacom
Business segments:Cellular telephony, fixed-line telephony, broadband services
Director, President and CEO: Ernest Cu
Key stats (2014):

Consolidated service revenues 99 billion pesos ($2.2 billion), up 9%; core net profit 14.5 billion pesos, up 25% from 2013.

Southeast Asia’s sprawling archipelagos are prime Petri dishes for mobile telephony. Given the distances, existing infrastructure, and skyrocketing need for mobile services, savvy operators along the equator are prime candidates for Telecom Asia’s Best Emerging Market Operator award.

This year, the Philippines’ Globe Telecom takes the prize. In the face of a strong incumbent and challenging market conditions, Globe still manages to find ways to grow the business. In the postpaid mobile sector alone, it continues to dominate with 58% market share in 2014, and managed to grow its postpaid revenues 11% in the bargain.

Globe also says it saw a significant uplift in its mobile data business last year, with mobile browsing and other data revenues up 23% in 2014 year on year, “accounting for 18% of total mobile service revenues and posting higher revenue contributions to the overall mobile business”.

It’s even making money from mobile data roaming. Globe says it has continued to gain traction with its flat-rate data roaming service, now available in over 80 countries worldwide. The data roaming package provides unlimited mobile data browsing and is bundled with a 30-day travel insurance policy. Result: Globe’s data roaming customer base grew by 40% last year.

Globe credits the rise of its mobile data business in part to “the continuing shift among consumers to a digital lifestyle.” That’s little surprise given recent consumer trends in the Philippines. According to a 2014 Nielsen report, 85% of Filipino consumers watch online video at least weekly - that’s the second highest percentage in Southeast Asia after Thailand. And seven in ten digital consumers watch TV content and movies through online sources like video-on-demand, the second highest penetration in the region at 71%. Globe has raced to stay ahead of those trends, forging partnerships with global content providers like Spotify, the NBA, HOOQ, and Disney.

Globe president and CEO Ernest Cu said that data and content will continue to define mobile usage in 2015. “Content through on-demand services will be king. Rich media content such as video and music streaming will define the use of mobile, either through smartphones or tablets, toward a ‘multi-channel experience’ as they are accessed simultaneously through multiple devices.”

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