MANILA (UPDATED)- Globe Telecom saw a 16 percent drop in net income last year to P18.6 billion versus P22.3 billion in 2019 due to lower revenues and depreciation charges amid the pandemic.
The Ayala-led telco said its total service revenues dipped 2 percent to P146.4 billion from P149 billion a year ago.
Fourth-quarter net income also declined 10 percent to P3.9 billion from the same quarter a year ago.
The telco however said it was able to build near 1,300 new cell sites or cell towers in 2020, up from 1,100 in 2019.
It also upgraded 11,529 sites to 4G or LTE, higher than the 10,135 in 2019.
Globe said it rolled out 5G to a total of 1,045 sites nationwide.
CEO Ernest Cu said Globe is not out of the woods just yet following a challenging year.
"I believe that the industry will continue to grow as long as we don't have the severe lockdowns that we had. I don't think you'll see contractions in the industry," he said.
Despite the tepid outlook for 2021, Globe is still heating up its spending drive for the year, as demand for data services particularly home broadband continues to spike due to the pandemic.
This year, Globe allotted P70 billion in capital expenditures (capex) to fund their aggressive cell site builds, upgrade of all sites to 4G or LTE, and fast track the "fiberization" of Filipino homes.
As for the whole year, Cu admitted, "I think the true breakout should happen in 2022, once the economy fully opens up and once a good deal of the population has been vaccinated."
While stopping short of giving full growth targets, the company is expecting at a service revenue expansion in the low single digit for the full year of 2021.
-with a report from Bruce Rodriguez, ABS-CBN News