PLDT to invest ₧3.9 billion in new cable system


PLDT Inc. is investing $80 million (P3.9 billion) in the Apricot Cable System to expand its bandwidth capacity as it expects to see greater demand for data and digital services.

Alfredo S. Panlilio, the company’s president, added that the investment will “help draw in global hyperscalers expanding in the region.”

“We continue to invest in international submarine cable systems, which are necessary infrastructure for global communications supporting ICT services. The construction of this Apricot cable system is vital to the Philippine economy with rapidly increasing data traffic and is aligned with our efforts to make the Philippines a strategic data center hub in the region,” he said.

Apricot will be equipped with 400G transmission technology and multiple pairs of high-capacity optical fiber that span 12,000 kilometers between the United States and Asia.

It will have a design capacity of more than 190Tbps connecting the Philippines to Japan, Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and Guam.

“Apricot assures our international and enterprise customers with sustained capacity availability and more resiliency options in support of their growing demand for data and continuing digital transformation. This likewise enhances how the Philippines connect to the rest of the world, a big plus for global hyperscalers who are looking at our country for their cloud region expansion,” said ePLDT President Jovy I. Hernandez.

PLDT has so far invested in 18 international cable systems, including Apricot. It has retired three of its older cable systems.

The company is spending as much as P92 billion in capital expenditures this year to expand its footprint for both wireless and fixed broadband.

The telco giant booked a net income of P12.9 billion in the first semester, flat compared to last year. However, its telco core income—which excludes the impact of asset sales and losses from its digital unit Voyager—grew by 10 percent to P15.2 billion from P13.9 billion the year prior.

The growth momentum will likely carry over to the rest of the year, according to PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan.

“For the full year, you’ll see us above P190 billion in terms of service revenues, while capital expenditures will likely to land at around P90 billion, higher by 25 percent compared to 2020, driven by continued build out of 5G and more and more fiber being laid for FTTH. For telco core income we’ll be aiming to achieve P30 billion for the full year,” he said.

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