How Well Did PLDT and Globe Do in Capturing the ICT Opportunity During the Pandemic?

A. Amir

Summary Bullets:

  • The pandemic is accelerating enterprises’ digital transformation in the Philippines, driving the market to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% in the next five years.
  • PLDT and Globe responded to the market shift with various new initiatives to capture the growing opportunity. PLDT reported a YoY increase of 5.6% in its enterprise ICT revenue, while Globe saw a 3.0% decline.

COVID-19 and Enterprise ICT Spending in the Philippines

It is widely known that COVID-19 has pushed enterprises to spend more on ICT and accelerate their digital transformation. The impact is greater in the emerging market, where business continuity planning (BCP) was not a common thing and enterprises largely relied on traditional IT services before the pandemic. In the Philippines, a recent study by GlobalData shows that 50% of 32 local enterprises increased their ICT budget in 2020 (28% by more than 6%; 22% by between 1% and 5%) to adapt to the new norm. The study also reveals that 56% of the Philippine enterprises are significantly expanding their ICT budget in 2021 by more than 6%. GlobalData estimates that the enterprise ICT services market in the country will increase by 2.3% YoY in 2020 and continue to grow at a CAGR of 6.1% in the next five years to USD 12.2 billion in 2024 (source: GlobalData Market Opportunity Forecasts to 2024: ICT in Philippines,” February 28, 2021).

On the supply side, the two largest carriers in the country – PLDT and Globe – have been transforming their enterprise business from connectivity to a managed service play for the past few years. Both providers have been pushing the digital transformation agenda in the market with end-to-end ICT solutions despite slow adoption by enterprises. However, when COVID-19 hit the world, it pushed enterprises to speed up their ICT modernization. System migrations that usually take several years were reported to be complete in just a few months. There was also a surge in demand for cloud, UC, security, and scalable network solutions in adapting to the new norm. Seeing the new trend and the increasing ICT opportunity, both providers swiftly responded to the change with new products and partnerships as well as various initiatives across different technology domains to address the new market needs. They leverage their strong brand and reputation as well as a wide portfolio to further penetrate the domestic ICT market. However, based on the recent 2020 financial reports, how well did PLDT and Globe do in capitalizing their advantage to capture the growing ICT opportunity in the Philippines?

PLDT

PLDT reported a 5.6% YoY increase in its enterprise ICT service revenue to USD 701 million in 2020, more than twice the overall market growth estimated by GlobalData (2.3%). While connectivity and networking services still account for 82% of the total enterprise revenue, PLDT is seeing solid 7% YoY growth in ICT solutions (e.g., data centers, cloud, and security). This is driven by various new capabilities launched by the provider in 2020, including enhanced disaster recovery services leveraging the Acronic cloud (October), CCaaS (September), its managed IT services starter kit (September), virtual desktop services (August), a zero-trust cloud networking solution (August), and ‘Beyond Fiber’ (June). PLDT also launched new IoT offerings such as Smart Tracker, Smart Queuing and e-health solutions. In addition, the provider launched its 5G network in July and is collaborating with enterprises across different verticals to develop new applications. PLDT also actively expanded its ecosystem, including partnerships with Google Cloud, Salesforce, SAP, and NetFoundry. For more, please see PLDT – Business Services Asia,” (November 9, 2020).

Globe

Having successfully closed the gap with PLDT in the mobile and home broadband markets, Globe is still catching up in the enterprise ICT segment with a revenue share of about a third of its rival. Despite a 3.0% YoY revenue decline to USD 257 million in 2020, Globe reported healthy growth in its ICT solutions business, which was offset by lower usage of the traditional connectivity services. It also has a head start on 5G network coverage and could draw on support from partial owner Singtel for 5G enterprise services, as the company is already developing solutions. However, despite its strong momentum in infrastructure expansion and mass-market services, Globe has only a number of initiatives in the enterprise segment: for example, offering discounted subscriptions to its UC solutions and cybersecurity services and the acquisitions of Third Pillar Business Applications (the Philippine’s largest Gold Partner for Salesforce) and Cascadeo (a U.S.-based cloud consulting provider). For more, please see Globe – Business Services Asia,” (November 10, 2020).

Both PLDT and Globe are showing strong momentum despite declines in traditional connectivity services. With rapid deployments of ICT services in 2020, enterprises are expected to be more mature and ready for more advanced digital transformation solutions this year. This includes multi-cloud solutions, SDN/NFV, CPaaS, IoT, enterprise 5G applications, and AI/analytics services. The providers are expected to further enhance their portfolio and capabilities to capture the growing opportunity in the managed ICT services market.

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