Globe Telecom To Expand Mobile Data Footprint In 2014

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Philippines mobile operator, Globe Telecom is planning to advance its mobile data footprint amid growing customer demand for internet connectivity.

The company’s transformation efforts delivered the most modernized telecommunications infrastructure in the Philippines. In addition to providing all of its base stations with state-of-the art equipment, Globe continues to optimize its modernized cell sites for maximum performance while aggressively building on its transport network. The company’s fiber optic footprint in the country now includes undersea cable systems in strategic sites such as those in Boracay and Coron in Palawan, boosting linkages of these two premier tourist destinations with the rest of the country and the world, said in a release.

The company’s interconnection with the Southeast-Asia Japan Cable system, which was activated in mid-2013, further strengthens the Philippines’ regional connectivity. Resiliencies and protection systems were also increased for better network availability and delivery, providing support for expanding business requirements especially for data.

Globe is presently concentrating on firing up more 3G and 4G sites nationwide as well as LTE sites in key commercial business districts and tourist destinations.

“Data will remain a key investment area for the company in 2014 in anticipation of significant demand for the service. About a quarter of the company’s capital expenditure of P27 billion for 2014 will be devoted to data-related investments including deployment of LTE technology and strengthening its broadband infrastructure,” Globe President & CEO Ernest Cu said.

Explaining that such move is expected to help sustain the company’s impressive revenue growth Cu said, “We have long anticipated the age of mobile data, and the expected surge of communications options beyond traditional voice and SMS that it presents.”

In a bid to enable communication via mobile data, the company has partnered with the most popular chat applications, namely Viber, FB Messenger, KakaoTalk, WeChat, Gmessage, Whatsapp and Line. In November last year, Globe partnered with Facebook to offer its 38.5 million mobile subscribers free access to the social networking site on Globe data network.

Globe Telecom is also working on expanding its mobile data reach by enhancing its mobile commerce service through GCash. To complement GCash’ mobile wallet functions, Globe X-Change Inc. (GXI) has partnered with American Express to launch GCash American Express Virtual Card, a prepaid virtual card linked to a subscriber’s GCash mobile wallet and allowed users to shop conveniently online from both local and international sites.

Just recently, the operator introduced Globe Charge, an innovative solution that transforms mobile phones into point-of-sale (POS) card terminals accepting debit and credit card payments  via smart phones and tablets.

BanKO, a joint collaboration between Globe, Bank of the Philippine Islands and Ayala Corp., was introduced, It is the first mobile-based, microfinance-focused savings bank in the country.

In 2013, revenues from mobile data services, which surged 42% from a year earlier to P11.6 billion, contributed 16% of total mobile revenues. This was driven by continuous demand for data services and the popularity of data-driven products and applications, the increased pervasiveness of the company’s 4G network and proliferation of data-enabled smartphones. Mobile revenues, which accounted for 80% of consolidated service revenues, continued its growth trend driven mainly by higher revenue contributions from mobile browsing and other value-added services, Globe Telecom said.

Currently, the Philippines is the 2nd top internet user in ASEAN, 6th in Asia Pacific and 17th in the world. In 2013, internet usage continued to increase driven by growing internet population in rural areas despite natural calamities that hit the country in latter part of the year. Internet population in urban areas is now stable, accounting for two-thirds while the remaining one-third of the population is accounted for by internet users in rural areas, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board.

Smartphone and tablet ownership also continues to surge as consumers now prefer mobile devices over desktop PCs amid proliferation of affordable tablets offered by local and China brands. Estimated population of tablet owners is estimated at around 1.79 million, following a dramatic increase in sales over the last two quarters. Such level of ownership is now approaching that of desktops, estimated at around 2.03 million following a decline in sales since the last quarter of 2012.

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Wahengbam Rorrkychand

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