Philippine integrated telco network PLDT’s revenues for its fixed wireless business grew 47% to P3.3 billion in 2021, as mobility restrictions confined customers to their homes. This also increased the demand for more affordable and accessible fixed wireless broadband internet solutions, particularly in areas not yet served by fiber.
PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) also launched its Smart Bro Rocket SIM in the third quarter of 2021, driving mobile broadband’s growth in the second half of the year.
As of year-end 2021, Smart’s fixed wireless subscriber base reached approximately one million subscribers.
“Our fixed wireless solutions catered to the requirements of our subscribers who need shared broadband connectivity or simply to power high-draw devices such as laptops, but with the flexibility provided by wireless mobility for work or study from anywhere applications,” said Jane J. Basas, SVP and head of Consumer Wireless Business at Smart.
The increase in Smart’s mobile data traffic has been supported by PLDT and Smart’s continuous network buildout. In 2021, Smart increased to nearly 75,400 of its total base stations nationwide, supporting its 4G/LTE and 5G customers across the country. This includes around 7,200 5G base stations.
Smart’s mobile network is supported by PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which was at 743,700 kilometers as of end-2021.
These wireless and fiber rollouts and other network-related initiatives made up the bulk of the P89 billion spend for 2021, in line with guidance. By 2022, PLDT is expected to invest between P76-80 billion in demand-driven CAPEX.