Telecommunications in the Philippines have achieved a remarkable development due to the presence of modern infrastructure facilities. The industry was deregulated in 1995, leading to the creation of many telecommunication service providers which rivalled with the incumbent for increasing the market share in mobile, fixed-line, Internet and other services.
The Internet penetration rate was near 72% by the end of 2019. There are good international radiotelephone and submarine cable services. A national Broadband Plan to improve connectivity in rural areas is underway 4G is available in most areas and 5G will roll out soon. With more mobile services there is demand for data center services and iCloud.
During the last few years, the major operators in the Philippines had to face slow growth in traditional areas of the market, while investment needs emerged for new growth areas such as consumer broadband. The rollout of optical fibre infrastructure has been recently implemented and is under way. There are also plans to accelerate the modernisation of the national network, switching to fibre over the following years.
The majority of the fixed-line services are found in urban areas. The fixed line market is still underdeveloped and fixed-line penetration is still mostly stagnant. This is mainly due to the prevalence of the mobile segment and fast expansion of the mobile broadband market. An increasing number of people are getting online and using cloud computing services, which is generating demand for data centre services. The Philippines’ National Telecommunications Commission, abbreviated as NTC, is an attached agency of the Office of the President of the Philippines responsible for the supervision, adjudication and control over all telecommunications services throughout the country.
The Filipino economy has been relatively resilient to global economic shocks due to less exposure to troubled international securities, lower dependence on exports, relatively resilient domestic consumption, large remittances from about 10 million overseas Filipino workers and migrants, and a rapidly expanding outsourcing industry. Efforts to improve tax administration and expenditures management have helped ease the Philippines’ debt burden and tight fiscal situation. The Philippines has received investment-grade credit ratings on its sovereign debt and has had little difficulty financing its budget deficits. However, weak absorptive capacity and implementation bottlenecks have prevented the government from maximizing its expenditure plans, which the administration has been working to address. Although it has improved, the low tax-to-GDP ratio remains a constraint to supporting increasingly higher spending levels and sustaining strong growth over the longer term.
Wealth is concentrated in the hands of the rich. The unemployment rate declined between 2010 and 2017; while there has been some improvement, underemployment remains high. At least 40% of the employed work in the informal sector. Poverty afflicts more than a fifth of the total population but is as high as 75% in some areas of the southern Philippines. Continued efforts are needed to improve governance, the judicial system, the regulatory environment, the infrastructure, and the overall ease of doing business.
Founded in 1928, the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) is the leading telecommunications and Internet service provider in the Philippines. Through its three main business groups—fixed line, wireless and information and communication technology, PLDT offers the largest and most diverse range of telecommunications services across the Philippines’ most extensive fiber optic backbone and fixed line, cellular and satellite networks.