PLDT chair warns of shift away from texting

Nicole McCormick
03 Mar 2010

Cheap bucket plans and discount unlimited data packages are threatening Philippines operators’ traditional texting cash cow, as subscribers turn increasingly to mobile social networking.

Announcing an 8% hike in net income for 2009, PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said he was cautiously watching the industry’s changing dynamics.

“The preference for unlimited and bucket plans are bringing a different factor and there is a shift away from texting to social networking,” Pangilinan told Business World.

He also said that competition “shows no signs of abating,” with consumer wallets “tightening” despite this year being an election year.

“For us, 2010 will be a year to regroup,” Pangilinan said.

PLDT’s net income for 2009 stood at PHP41.1 billion ($892.51 million), while revenue grew 2% to PHP145.6 billion, with wireless sales of

PHP95.8 billion.

But the firm notes that more operators in the market, increasing dual SIM card ownership, cheap bucket plans and low-cost plans with unlimited data will continue to pressure the business.

PLDT expects recurring profits this year to be marginally higher than this year’s PHP41.1 billion, thanks to continued cost-cutting measures.

PLDT president and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno told Business World that mobile voice packages could be expanded, in the wake of the success of Smart’s unlimited voice packages.

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