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Globe Telecom eyes prepaid home fiber in Philippines

Globe Telecom Inc. will make a big push toward prepaid home fiber as the Philippines’ postpaid broadband segment is “nearing saturation, if not already saturated,” CEO Ernest Cu said.

“Our focus going forward is increasing the utilization of our network by delivering fiber connectivity to the broader market through our prepaid fiber products,” Cu said in an email.

Cu — who’s helped Globe unseat Smart Communications Inc. as leader in the Philippine mobile-phone market, eight years after becoming CEO in April 2009 — plans to start a prepaid home fiber service in the second quarter. He’s also expanding the reach of a community-based Wifi service that’s available to over “600 hosts” across the country.

A push into prepaid fiber could spark another round of explosive growth in home broadband, similar to the boom in local mobile-phone services in the 1990s. The initiative comes as competition is expected to heat up, with Elon Musk’s Starlink scheduled to start this quarter its satellite broadband service, challenging Globe, PLDT Inc. and Converge ICT Solutions Inc.

The Philippine home broadband and wireless data market expanded rapidly in the last two years on the back of pandemic-induced work-from-home setups and online classes.

Data’s share to Globe’s service revenue will rise further from 81% in 2022, with data-linked services driving its estimated single-digit sales growth this year, said Cu. The rise in contribution, however, “will be at a slower pace than in the past” as the industry matures, he said.

Still, Cu remains “quite bullish” that corporate data will continue its growth momentum in sales, which grew 21% in 2022 and offset a 7.8% drop in home broadband revenue. Digitization drive by companies will boost Globe’s revenue from ICT-related services such as cloud solutions and data center, which jumped 89% last year, he said.

Globe’s data center venture with shareholder Ayala Corp. and ST Telemedia Global Data Centres is “progressing as planned” in building capability, Cu said, adding that “some significant capacities” will come in by next year. — Bloomberg

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