PLDT to focus on data as it braces for tough times

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THE country’s leading telco Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) expects tougher times ahead with the expected entry of a third player and will therefore focus spending on expanding and strengthening its data services to remain competitive.

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Australia’s Telstra Corp. Ltd. is reportedly poised to enter the local market, bringing with it the promise of cheaper and faster broadband and mobile data services.

“Given the many and significant changes happening in the industry, we foresee tougher times ahead both in terms of the developments affecting the industry as well as the possible entry of a new player in the market,” PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a press briefing in Pasig last week.

To remain competitive, PLDT will have to allocate a considerable amount of capital expenditure (capex) on improving its data business in the next few years.

Pangilinan said it was imperative for PLDT, a company that used to thrive on its legacy network business, to strengthen its data network which is seen as the future of telecommunications.

“I think the focus in terms of spend is really the capex on the [data]network because really that’s what we need . . . the whole world is changing to data,” he said.

Pangilinan said there were no foreseen major investments in the coming two years.

“I think we will be more guarded, more deliberate in terms of investments,” he said. “I don’t see any significant investments of acquisitions from 2016 to 2018,” he added.

Pangilinan said PLDT would be focusing on ensuring that it had the right people, the right network that will push the business to new heights.

He said that 2016 would be a time to harvest the fruits of investments PLDT made in the past, adding that the coming year will be a year of consolidation.

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