The PLDT Groupannounced during the company's first half results briefing that it is shifting its mobile internet strategy to sell not just connectivity, but service packages that will address Filipinos’ increasing appetite for video, gaming, and other digital content.
PLDT's mobile subsidiary, Smart Communications' “go beyond access” is expected to further bolster the company's mobile internet revenues which rose 20% year-on-year to P9.7 billion in the first half of 2017.
The strategy seeks to increase the contribution of mobile internet to overall wireless service revenues.
“It’s not just about connectivity anymore. For example, Smart’s latest offer Video Prime 99 comes with subscriptions to top streaming sites iflix and iWant TV. The 2GB data allocation included in the package will give customers internet access, but the key selling point now is the video content that Filipinos can’t seem to get enough of,” said PLDT and Smart Chief Revenue Officer Ernesto R. Alberto.
He noted that heavy video consumption helped drive the 78% spike in data usage on smartphones and dongles in the Smart network to 117,657 Terabytes.
“We expect video consumption to further intensify as more Filipinos start to use smartphones,” Alberto said. As of end-June, 52% of Smart’s customer base were using smartphones.
Alberto said the turnaround plan for Smart, particularly its wireless individual business, was centered on increasing data adoption and usage on both smartphones and dongles.
“Our wireless individual business has been impacted by customers’ shift from legacy services like voice and SMS to over-the-top (OTT) services like Facebook Messenger and Viber. This was a disruption that hit the whole industry. But now we have arrested the quarterly decline in revenues through better monetization of data services and increased usage of bandwidth-heavy services like video streaming and gaming,” Alberto said.
According to Smart, revenues of the wireless individual business went up by P200 million quarter-on-quarter to P14.9 billion in the April-June period. Mobile data usage on smartphones and dongles brought in P5.9 billion, which is P400 million higher than the previous quarter’s figure. Mobile data’s contribution to overall wireless individual revenues increased from 37% to 40%.