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...we need to have a property in Clark guys  Tongue  future city

PLDT to launch 5G cell site in Clark

PLDT, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc. and Ericsson will fire up the country’s first fifth generation (5G) cell site in Clark, Pampanga within the month.

The telecommunications giant, its wireless subsidiary Smart and technology partner Ericsson signed on Monday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Clark Development Corp. (CDC) to turn Clark Freeport Zone into the first Smart 5G City in the Philippines.

“We are happy to be working with CDC in building the city of the future… This will benefit not only Clark but the country as well by demonstrating that we are in step with the rest of the world in adopting advanced intelligent technologies,” PLDT-Smart Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in the statement.

PLDT-Smart Chief Technology and Information Advisor Joachim Horn told reporters 5G is likely to benefit only enterprises for now, noting it may take two to three years before the 5G technology could be enjoyed by commercial users depending on the 5G-capability of routers and devices.

“It’s particularly interesting for enterprise customers. For enterprise customers, 5G offers a much higher flexibility. We can adjust the technology in a way that it’s tailor-made for the their use case,” he said.

Mr. Horn said talks with enterprises are expected to begin after the Smart 5G City is launched within the month.

“We will start to work with enterprises but the roll out would take some time… I think the major activities will be early next year. So this is a year of putting it to service, start the first couple of sites, show it to the partners and then start the discussions,” he said.

He noted there are 13 existing sites in Clark that are now 5G-ready, and Smart targets to increase it to 25 by mid-2019.

Smart said it presently has more than 2,000 5G-ready sites all over the country. It has more than 221,000 kilometers of fiber network, which will be the backbone for the 5G roll out.

“By piloting 5G in Clark, we are making this zone even more attractive to foreign investors. Through this pilot, we are putting the possibilities of 5G closer to industries, businesses and enterprises operating in the city,” PLDT Head of Enterprise Juan Victor Hernandez said in the statement.

For his part, CDC President Noel Manankil said they are thankful Clark was chosen to be the first 5G city in the country.

“This undertaking forms part of the vision to help create communities that are smart, technology- focused, something that would help keep our country in the right cadence into the future,” he was quoted as saying.

Smart has been testing 5G technology since 2016.

The company launched in August its 5G Technolab, a facility focusing on research and development, standardization, and testing of 5G wireless broadband technologies and services.

In August, Smart and Ericsson inked an MoU to launch the first 5G pilot network by the first half of 2019.

PLDT is spending as much as P58 billion this year for capital expenditures, a historic amount for the telco giant.

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...nalaglag 'to...bumaba earnings report tapos new competitor can never underestimate your competitors 

PLDT: 3rd player not a threat yet

PLDT, Inc. said on Thursday it does not expect an immediate significant impact from the entry of a new major telecommunications player, as it would take several years for the latter to establish its network.

“I would like to think that in the first year the impact (of the third telco player) would not be significant. Most likely, the third player would be a mobile player, so on our part the significant portion of our revenues are in fixed. We think the impact on the fixed line revenue would be modest,” PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a media briefing on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Mislatel Consortium, composed of China Telecommunications Corp. and companies controlled by Dennis A. Uy, was provisionally named winner of the Philippines’ third telecoms license.

PLDT Chief Corporate Services Officer Ray C. Espinosa said the third telco is unlikely to achieve its commitment of minimum average broadband speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps) and 37% annual population coverage all in the first year, because “it would take several years before they can put that network in place and become operational.”

In a regulatory filing, the telecommunications giant on Thursday said its third quarter net income attributable to equity holders fell 16% to P4.5 billion.

For the first nine months of 2018, PLDT’s attributable income dropped 26% to P16.27 billion from P21.87 billion a year ago due to accelerated depreciation of P4.5 billion related to its network assets.

Third quarter revenues went up 2% to P40.91 billion, bringing the nine-month figure 3% higher at P123.15 billion, “primarily due to higher revenues from data services in the fixed line business, as well as higher non-service revenues from wireless and fixed line businesses.” However, lower revenues from mobile and home broadband services, as well as continued drop in voice revenues from its fixed line business weighed on the top line.

By business segment, PLDT reported wireless revenues dropped 4% to P67.67 billion during the nine-month period, “mainly as a result of lower revenues from mobile, home broadband, and digital platforms and mobile financial services, (but) partially offset by higher revenues from MVNO and other services.”

Revenues from its fixed-line business increased 9% to P63.33 billion during the January to September period, as higher revenues from its data services offset lower voice service revenues.

Commenting on PLDT’s third quarter earnings, PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said the weaker earnings “reflect the effects of its competition with Globe.”

“In one of PNB Securities’ recent reports, we note that PLDT’s retained earnings have been decreasing since 2012 and could incur a deficit if it continues to pay dividends at the current pace,” he said in a mobile message.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pangilinan said PLDT expects to close this month the deal selling a stake in Voyager to investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings Ltd. and World Bank sister organization International Finance Corp. (IFC).

“The last remaining investor we’re waiting final approval from is IFC. They’re likely to increase their investment size… I think once we get final approval for their upsized investment, that closes the books… We should expect the transaction to complete on or before the end of November,” he said.

PLDT said last month it already signed an agreement with KKR and Tencent for $175-million worth of shares in Voyager.

When the deal is done, Mr. Pangilinan said PLDT’s stake in Voyager would be reduced to approximately 48%.

PLDT also said on Thursday it is investing P2.15 billion in information and IT solutions provider Multisys Technologies Corp. to aid the company in software development capabilities.

The deal will be coursed through its subsidiary PLDT Global Investments Holdings, Inc.

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...kaya naman nila eh, magdeploy ng new technology, binabagalan lang nila roll out

Smart fires up initial 5G cell sites in Makati, Clark

SMART Communications Inc. has fired up the first two 5G cell sites in the country with the intent of developing solutions and applications for Makati City and Clark Freeport Zone.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, the company’s chairman, said on Wednesday that by firing up the first two towers equipped with 5G equipment, this puts Smart “alongside the first-tier operators in the world to have deployed live 5G base stations.”

This, he added, “is part of our commitment to bring the most advanced technologies to the country.”

Smart Chief Revenue Officer Eric R. Alberto added that with the setting up of new 5G stations, the telco can start piloting the development of solutions that can cater to “densely populated areas.”

“With 5G resources now in place, we are looking at developing 5G solutions and applications for central business district areas like Makati, which host a dense population of businesses, people and advanced devices,” he said.

Smart partnered with Huawei to fire up the cell site in Makati, while it tapped Ericsson for the initiative in Clark.

“With 5G cell sites now live and on-air, we are now set to test 5G’s powerful platform to develop solutions, such as autonomous vehicles, connected fleets, and smart buildings and factories, and be able to deliver 5G services to our customers soon,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT-Smart chief technology and information advisor.

5G is the fifth generation of mobile Internet technology. It is considered, when commercially launched worldwide, to be the fastest commercial Internet connectivity with speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps.

Mobile use of 5G has yet to be developed, but telcos around the globe have been developing their own networks to be equipped with 5G-ready instruments.

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PLDT’s Voyager gets $40-M investment from IFC

THE World Bank’s sister organization International Finance Corp. (IFC) and IFC Emerging Asia Fund are investing $40 million in PLDT, Inc.’s technology unit Voyager Innovations, the telecommunications giant said on Monday.

In a statement on Monday, PLDT said it signed an agreement with IFC and the fund managed by IFC Asset Management Company for the subscription of $40 million worth of newly issued shares in Voyager.

The two companies join investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) and Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings Ltd. as foreign investors in Voyager. KKR and Tencent earlier announced a consolidated investment of $175 million in PLDT’s digital innovations arm.

The four foreign partners will now have a total combined investment of $215 million in Voyager, which handles the PayMaya Philippines, Inc., mobile remittance brand Smart Padala, online loaning platform Lendr, financial technology arm FINTQ, and free mobile browsing app Freenet.

PLDT said its ownership stake in Voyager would be reduced to below 50% once the deal is closed, which is expected before the year ends. However, PLDT will remain the single largest shareholder in the tech company.

“We at PLDT are quite happy to welcome the investment… Through its Global Innovative Retail Payments Program, IFC aims to make financial services much more accessible and affordable to the world’s low-income population by supporting innovative financial services. That is precisely the goal that PLDT is pursuing through Voyager’s platforms,” PLDT Chairman, CEO and President Manuel V. Pangilinan was quoted as saying.

Mr. Pangilinan had earlier said selling stakes in Voyager was intended to help PLDT regain losses from the unit, which stood at P1.8 billion during the first three quarters of the year. He estimated that PLDT’s investment in Voyager since 2013 is at around P9 billion to P10 billion.

Voyager’s closest competition in the Philippine market is Globe Telecom, Inc.’s GCash, which also took a minority investment from Ant Financial Services Group of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma last year.

In a separate disclosure to the stock exchange, PLDT said it had also signed the agreement for its investment in information and IT solutions provider Multisys Technologies Corp., which it announced earlier this month.

“PLDT’s investment involves the acquisition of new and existing shares of Multisys equivalent to a 45.73% ownership stake. As part of the Investment Agreement, PLDT will infuse P1.6 billion fresh capital into Multisys subject to the fulfillment of the prescribed conditions to complete such investment,” the company said.

In its earlier announcement, PLDT said Multisys will help PLDT Enterprise, ePLDT and Voyager offer custom-made solutions for its customers.

“This investment positions PLDT as a telecoms and digital services provider with core software development capabilities,” Mr. Pangilinan was quoted as saying then.

For the first nine months of 2018, PLDT’s attributable income dropped 26% to P16.27 billion from P21.87 billion a year ago due to accelerated depreciation of P4.5 billion related to its network assets.

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Tencent, KKR complete $175-M investment in PLDT’s Voyager

CHINESE tech company Tencent Holdings Ltd. and investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) on Wednesday completed its $175-million investment in Voyager Innovations, Inc., according to PLDT, Inc.

PLDT Chairman, CEO and President Manuel V. Pangilinan said the company targets to close the $40-million investment in Voyager by World Bank sister organization International Finance Corp. (IFC) and IFC Emerging Asia Fund within the next two weeks.

“Money in today was $175 million. IFC I think is Dec. 10 for the $40 million. That should complete $215 million. That’s it for Series A funding,” Mr. Pangilinan told reporters in Makati City on Wednesday.

He noted additional Series B funding would need to be raised after two years, but the $215 million should be enough to expand Voyager in the meantime.

“We look at the business plan. They’re going to rev it up. So the scale of the business will expand in the next two years… I think we have enough cash to fund the next two to three years, but then on the third to fourth year we’re going to raise a bit more, Series B,” Mr. Pangilinan said.

After the financial closing, PLDT’s stake in Voyager would be reduced to 48%, but will remain the biggest single shareholder in the technology company.

Mr. Pangilinan expects the new investments to help PLDT reduce its losses from Voyager, which grew to P1.8 billion in the nine-month period from P800 million in the same period last year.

“Hopefully the level of losses we will pick up would be much less. But again, it depends on the level of losses that they will realize next year and in 2020,” he said.

In its disclosure to the stock exchange, PLDT quoted Voyager President and CEO Orlando B. Vea as saying, “We believe with investors like KKR and Tencent leading the way, the Philippines’ profile as a destination for tech investment is on the rise.”

While Tencent and KKR will have seats on Voyager’s board, Mr. Pangilinan said IFC and IFC Emerging Asia Fund will be given observer status.

“They’ll have some observance on the board. They’re not entitled to a board seat, given the level of the size of investments of both Tencent and KKR. They are two principal investors… There are certain governance matters that we have to adhere to, because that’s the way they are. They are a supernational institution. We expect them to be active on the board,” he said.

Voyager is the digital innovations arm of PLDT, which manages mobile wallet PayMaya Philippines, Inc. and mobile remittance brand Smart Padala, online loaning platform Lendr, and free mobile browsing app Freenet.

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12 - 3

...mukhang confident gumastos si PLDT ah Tongue

PLDT eyes higher capex for 2019

PLDT, Inc. is looking to increase its capital expenditure (capex) for 2019, a significant amount of which will be used to fund its wireless business and its fifth generation (5G) network rollout.

PLDT Chairman, CEO and President Manuel V. Pangilinan told reporters on Wednesday the PLDT board is set to discuss this coming Tuesday their plans for next year, and is targeting a bigger capex than this year’s P58 billion.

“We’re just focusing on our numbers. Capex elevated, higher again next year,” he said.

Mr. Pangilinan refused to give details, but said it will be bigger than rival Globe Telecom, Inc.’s capex.

Globe has not officially announced its targeted capex for 2019 yet, but Mr. Pangilinan said he knows it to be “a billion US dollars,” and PLDT’s would be “much bigger.”

“Wireless is still a significant portion, especially now that we’re going to spend. So we’re expanding some 3G, a lot of 4G sites and then beginning to build out the 5G,” he said of the allocation for next year’s budget.

The PLDT chief also said he expects the performance next year to be “quite good.”

“I think the wireless looks… the numbers are good. Definitely Home, the numbers are very good. Enterprise is also good,” he said, referring to its Home and Enterprise business segments.

Fitch Ratings said last month PLDT and Globe are expected to take a hit in revenues and raise their capex in 2019 as they brace for a new entrant in the telco industry: the winner from the government’s new major player auction, Mislatel Consortium.

The Mislatel group is formed by China Telecommunications Corp., Dennis A. Uy’s Udenna Corp. and its subsidiary Chelsea Logistics Holdings Corp., with franchise-holder Mindanao Islamic Telephone Company, Inc. It has committed a capex of P150 billion in its first year of operations, which is expected to start mid-2019.

Globe President Ernest L. Cu previously told reporters while the company hasn’t finalized its capex yet, the figure is likely to remain close to its budget this year, which was at $950 million (about P49.8 billion).

Should there be increases in Globe’s capex, Mr. Cu said it will not be due to pressure from the new player, but rather from the rising demand for its services.

“We keep increasing our capex because our demand is increasing,” Mr. Cu said in a Nov. 13 interview.

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PLDT closes deal to acquire minority stake in Multisys

PLDT, Inc. said on Tuesday it has completed the acquisition of a minority stake in information and IT solutions provider Multisys Technologies Corp.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange, the telecommunications giant said it has closed the P1.6-billion deal with Multisys on Monday.

“Upon the approval by the Philippine SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) of the capital increase of Multisys, PLDT will own a total equity stake of 45.73% in Multisys through a combination of new and existing shares of Multisys,” it said.

PLDT Chairman, CEO and President Manuel V. Pangilinan earlier said its investment in Multisys would position the company as one “with core software development capabilities.”

He also had told reporters last month the deal would help PLDT in improving its offers in its Enterprise business.

“They’re in a next-stage development, so they need a big brother like us to provide the funding because we’re supplying P1.6 billion of new capital into the business… We’re happy to do that. And the synergies between Multisys and Enterprise group, whether it’s the Alpha or MSMEs, (is a good thing), because you can work with them in creating bespoke solutions, or bespoke platforms, to specific companies,” Mr. Pangilinan had said.

In its website, Multisys said it helps small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and has experience in web and mobile development, e-government, cybersecurity and enterprise resource planning.

PLDT posted a 26% decline in its attributable net income during the nine-month period to P16.27 billion, dragged by the accelerated depreciation of P4.5 billion related to its network assets.

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PLDT closes IFC’s $40-M investment in Voyager

INTERNATIONAL Finance Corp. (IFC) and IFC Emerging Asia Fund has completed their $40-million investment in Voyager Innovations, Inc., according to the tech company’s parent PLDT, Inc.

PLDT told the stock exchange on Monday the finalization of IFC’s equity investment in Voyager effectively reduces its shares in the unit to below 50%. However, PLDT will remain the largest single shareholder in Voyager.

“This completes the $215-million fund-raise into Voyager Innovations that includes $175 million from KKR and Tencent Holdings, Inc. announced earlier,” the telecommunications giant said.

Last month, PLDT completed the $175-million investment of Chinese tech company Tencent and investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR) into Voyager.

PLDT Chairman, CEO and President Manuel V. Pangilinan earlier said the fresh funds will be enough to facilitate the expansion of Voyager within the next two to three years. After which, PLDT will again seek more investors into Voyager.

Voyager is the PLDT unit that handles its mobile wallet PayMaya Philippines, Inc. and mobile remittance brand Smart Padala, online loaning platform Lendr, and free mobile browsing app Freenet.

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...competition brings forth higher quality service...forced to upgrade service ngayon sila Smart/Globe Tongue

Smart brings LTE, LTE-A network to Bulacan

PLDT, Inc.’s wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. said it rolled out its long-term evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network in several towns in Bulacan.

The telecommunications firm said in a statement on Thursday the upgraded network may be enjoyed by Smart, Sun and TNT subscribers in the cities of Malolos, San Jose Del Monte, Obando, Balagtas, San Ildefonso, San Miguel, San Rafael and Pulilan. It added it is also bringing its LTE network to Doña Remedios Trinidad for the first time.

“Our network upgrades in Bulacan are part of our nationwide efforts to bring better connectivity across the country, in order to improve the lives of our customers and their families, and to enhance the productivity of Bulacan’s businesses and enterprises,” PLDT-Smart Senior Vice-President for Network Planning and Engineering Mario G. Tamayo said in the statement.

Smart noted it was able to record speeds between 40 Megabits per second (Mbps) and 70 Mbps when it tested the network using LTE-A capable devices in locations such as Malolos, San Rafael and Santa Maria.

Aside from expanding the coverage of its LTE and LTE-A network, the company is also boosting its carrier aggregation rollout, which allows users to enjoy faster speeds by combining at least two bands of radio frequencies that make for a bigger pipe with bigger capacity.

“Mobile internet experience is best experienced with LTE, and with the appropriate devices, the frequency bands and carrier aggregation that our network supports,” Mr. Tamayo added.

Smart said it already has more than 14,400 base stations that are LTE-ready all over the country as of September.

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