The Philippines' PLDT has reported a 33% year-on-year decline in net income for 2017 to 13.4 billion pesos ($257 million), despite signs of stabilizing service revenue.
While consolidated service revenue fell 3% year-on-year to 143.5 billion pesos, PLDT reported three quarters of modest sequential revenue gains starting in the second quarter – unlike in 2016, when service revenue declined each quarter.
The revenue stabilization was prompted by a leveling off of the decline in wireless revenues, which nevertheless fell 11% for the full year to 58.9 billion pesos.
By contrast, mobile internet revenue grew 17% to 20 billion pesos, while home broadband and corporate data and data center revenues grew by 16% to 20.4 billion pesos and 19.6 billion pesos respectively.
For the full year, data, broadband and digital platforms comprised 63% of fixed line revenues and 36% of wireless revenues, up from 60% and 31% respectively in 2016.
As well as the declining annual revenue, PLDT's decline in net profit for the quarter was driven by growing capex expenses as the operator spent heavily on its transformation initiatives. Total non-core capex costs reached 16.7 billion pesos for the quarter.
As a result of its spending, PLDT increased the coverage of its fiber-powered fixed broadband network by 1.2 million homes passed to over 4 million premises, and doubled its fixed broadband capacity to over 1 million lines.
Mobile unit Smart meanwhile more than doubled the number of LTE base stations on its cellular network to over 8,700.
“Over the past year, we have made significant progress in solidifying our lead in the Home and Enterprise businesses while stabilizing the Individual Consumer business,” PLDT and Smart CEO Manuel Pangilinan said.
“This is largely enabled by our heavy investments in our fixed and mobile networks which in turn allows us to strengthen our data and digital businesses, laying the ground for future growth. Though the trends are encouraging, much remains to be done to place PLDT on a sustained growth path.”