Blog: Is the future bright for Filipino incumbents?

first_img Blog: Philippines 3rd operator inches towards reality HomeBlog Blog: Is the future bright for Filipino incumbents? The two incumbent operators in the Philippines, Globe Telecom and PLDT, collectively plan to spend a whopping $2.7 billion in capex this year as they face continued pressure to boost the country’s very slow data rates and brace for the end of their long-time duopoly on mobile services in the country.Competition is set to increase with the entry of a third major mobile operator after consortium Mislatel (recently renamed Dito Telecommunity) won a licence late in 2018. Unsurprisingly, Fitch Ratings said the entry is credit negative for PLDT and Globe Telecom, and will likely dilute their market shares.Globe Telecom held a 57 per cent market share by subscribers at end-June, while PLDT’s mobile unit Smart Communications had a 43 per cent share, data from GSMA Intelligence showed.The two operators have more than a year to prepare, as Dito Telecommunity plans to launch commercial service in late 2020 and cover 17 major cities after two years. It is targeting 37 per cent population coverage after its first year and 84 per cent after five years, when it aims to have 8,000 base stations nationwide.In addition to the newcomer threat, mobile internet speeds in the country still lag behind most regional peers and require bigger investment. Despite strong gains in 2018, the Philippines still ranked tenth in Asia, with average download rates of 7Mb/s, up three places from a year earlier, Q1 2019 data from Opensignal showed.Capex intensiveThe country’s telecoms sector ranks as one of the most capex intensive among Asia-Pacific operators, with total capex forecast at around 40 per cent of revenue compared with the regional average of the low 20s, Fitch Ratings recently stated.Although Globe Telecom earmarked PHP63 billion ($1.2 billion) for capex in 2019 (a 45 per cent jump from 2018), its spending in the first six months of the year actually fell to PHP19 billion from PHP22.9 billion in the January-to-June 2018 period. Its capex in 2018 inched up 1.9 per cent from PHP42.5 billion in 2017 and represented just 29 per cent of revenue.Meanwhile, rival PLDT was forced to step up its game in early 2016 after its profit and revenue fell sharply and it continued to lose customers to Globe Telecom. PLDT then outlined a three-year recovery plan, dubbed its digital pivot, which called for a huge increase in network investment. Three years on, it is seeing the start of a sustained recovery, with revenue rising for four straight quarters.Its H1 capex was 50 per cent higher than the PHP32.7 billion spent in the first half of 2018. For the full year, it is targeting raising the capex-to-revenue ratio to more than 40 per cent as it adds up to PHP20 billion more than the PHP58.5 billion allocated in 2018 (38 per cent of revenue). The jump comes after it hiked capex by 58 per cent from PHP37 billion in 2017.To prepare for the higher network investment over the next few years, in June it plotted the sale and redevelopment of various offices in Makati City.Marc Einstein, chief analyst at Japan-based research company ITR, recalled that a decade ago the two companies had the highest SMS per capita usage and lowest voice minutes of use (MOU) in Asia, if not the world, which led to extremely high profits. During that time their capex was notoriously low.Early daysHe told Mobile World Live both incumbents still have quite a bit of catching up to do compared with their regional peers and capex will need to be much higher for at least the next three-to-five years.Einstein noted the new entrant is expected to be aggressive on pricing and coverage, and will also likely get a good deal on network equipment given China Telecom is a partner in the venture.While Globe Telecom is yet to fully fund its proposed capex rise, its net profit was flat in Q2 and mobile revenue grew just 4 per cent, a worrisome sign. Look for its margins to be crimped as its capex soars and revenue edges up by the targeted high-single digits in 2019.PLDT appears to be rebounding from a few bad years, after aggressively pushing its digital transformation agenda. But it’s still early days in that recovery, which Dito Telecommunity no doubt will be looking to stall.The editorial views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and will not necessarily reflect the views of the GSMA, its Members or Associate Members. Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to LinkedInLinkedInLinkedInShare to TwitterTwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookFacebookShare to MoreAddThisMore 13 AUG 2019 Author Previous ArticleVerizon sells Tumblr as media makeover continuesNext ArticleAirtel dismisses stake sale speculation Joseph Waring Blog: Has Philippines connectivity push succeeded?center_img Related Blog Blog: Will Philippine tower plan narrow density gap? Globe Telecomhigher capexPLDTSmart Communications Tags Joseph Waring joins Mobile World Live as the Asia editor for its new Asia channel. Before joining the GSMA, Joseph was group editor for Telecom Asia for more than ten years. In addition to writing features, news and blogs, he… Read more last_img read more

Farming Fresh, Homegrown Healthcare

first_img Email Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup. Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox. On a warm September afternoon, five men drove across an open field just west of Kalispell in a train of farm vehicles. Les Keller, the semi-retired owner of Centennial Farm, led the group from the community garden, where they’d picked zucchini and green tomatoes, to a barn, where they fed the horses and cows leftovers from the 30 cobs of corn they had eaten for lunch. From there, they drove into the woods and loaded some 20 stray logs onto one truck. It was a productive afternoon, in more than a few ways.The farmhands in the convoy — Tim Harris, Ryan Trout, Arthur Madeira, and Andrew Williams — are four of 65 men, women, and children who work at 12 farms in Northwest Montana through placements with Flathead Care Farming, a program offered by the Kalispell-based statewide homecare provider A Plus Healthcare. The therapeutic day farming program, now three-and-a-half years old, provides an empowering and evidence-based form of healthcare for folks with developmental or physical disabilities.“It’s not about free labor for farmers,” said A Plus Healthcare chief operations officer Maarten Fischer. “It’s to have meaning and purpose, to be physically and socially active.”Fischer, a Dutch transplant who helped build a now $5 million visitor-oriented and therapeutic farming industry in the Netherlands, founded Flathead Care Farming in March 2013, and the program has since gained international recognition. Last week, it earned a 2016 Exemplary Program award from the Montana Community Services Bureau and the Department of Public Health and Human Services’ Medicaid Home and Community Based Services program.It is also the subject of a recent documentary, The Country Side of Care, produced by Dutch filmmaker Sanne Hijlkema. After learning that care farming is still an “intriguing new development in Northwest Montana,” Hijlkema “decided to spend some time with these pioneers,” including Fischer and Keller, to learn about the burgeoning movement in the western United States. The independent film premiered at Flathead Valley Community College in August, and will appear at the Delaware Docs Without Borders Film Festival in October.“We know that farming has pretty amazing healing powers and calming powers,” said Pam Gerwe, an owner of Purple Frog Farm in Whitefish and a host of Flathead Care Farming clients since the program’s pilot run in 2013. “Maarten’s program brings the funding piece — the recognition that there’s therapeutic value, that’s it’s worthy of acknowledging the farmer’s time.”Farmers, who undergo training to become part of the program and devote significant portions of their time to this work, are paid between $50 and $100 daily to host clients. About half of Flathead Care Farming’s clients are referred through Medicaid caseworkers, and Fischer has also partnered with Center for Youth Restorative Justice, the Special Friends Advocacy Program, Lighthouse Christian Home, the Flathead County Agency on Aging, and the Flathead Job Service to expand care farming’s reach. He hopes to soon extend the program to aging veterans or those with post-traumatic stress disorders, and to expand an existing vocational rehab program though a partnership with FVCC.Farms are a good place to test a number of skills, Fischer says, and farmers often show their workers what goes into agriculture besides physical labor, like website design or customer interaction. Positions through Flathead Care Farming are the first job that many participants have held, and for others, farms are the first workplace where they’ve experienced affirmations of their humanity and dignity regardless of their capacity.“It’s such a basic human right to be treated with respect,” Gerwe said.Therapeutic benefits include opportunities for clients who might otherwise just stay at home to exhaust themselves physically and find stimulation among friendly company. They cultivate a sense of stewardship and a “perspective change to a more glass half-full,” Fischer said. Being outdoors and working in beautiful settings can make a big difference, Gerwe and Keller noted, and Fischer said that when clients spend time outside on farms, the amount of overall care they need can drop by 50 percent. The high level of medical care many clients receive can be alienating, Fischer said, and many “feel they have escaped” when they visit a farm.“I didn’t get so much feeling of appreciation,” Tim Harris said of jobs he’s held elsewhere. “Whereas here I feel a sense of belonging. Ever since I started, I’ve enjoyed the camaraderie, working with guys like this … It’s a challenge for some folks who have issues with anger or they might have issues emotionally. This is kind of an outlet for them to be with other people and not feel so trapped.”Another benefit to the program for many male workers is the chance to interact and work with women in healthy ways. Gerwe says that one client who has struggled with this recently told “one of our workers she was looking particularly intelligent.” The same worker has had difficulty with his memory after suffering a traumatic brain injury, but three days after visiting the care farm, he was able to list, in minute detail, the steps to complete a farm task. He’s also begun to grow kale at home, something new for the family, who told Gerwe they’d never eaten the vegetable before their son began working at Purple Frog.With so many benefits so readily apparent, interest in Fischer’s program has piqued beyond the region. He regularly receives calls from healthcare workers in other towns hoping he might expand the program. But for now, Fischer says his focus is on growing an inclusive community care ethos on farms across the Flathead.last_img read more

Court must maintain high level of efficiency

first_imgLocalNews Court must maintain high level of efficiency by: – September 18, 2012 Share Sharing is caring! Tweet Sharecenter_img 25 Views   one comment Share Acting Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, Janice PereiraActing Chief Justice of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Janice Pereira, the first female to have been elevated to this position, has emphasized the need for the Court to maintain a high level of efficiency despite the shrinking budgets and financial difficulties. Today, September 18th marked the commencement of the 2012/2013 law term in all nine member countries of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).Pereira who noted that her “honour and privilege” to serve the region, pledged to continue the good work commenced by her predecessors “towards the administration and advancement of justice for the citizenry of the OECS and the wider Caribbean”.She also expressed her gratitude to retired chief justice Sir Hugh Rawlins for the “unrelenting service” which he gave to the Court. “He instinctively gave dedicated service and now joins the rank of the many great chief justices who have served the court as remarkable jurists and inspiring mentors. Sir Hugh places an indelible mark on our jurisprudence through his erudite judgments and formidable leadership which guided us over the past four years”.In her inaugural address themed; “Improving efficiency and integrity in the administration of justice in times of economic adversity”, she explained that despite financial difficulties the court ought to maintain a high level of efficiency.“The judiciary of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, although faced with resulting challenges; one of which is the absence of the optimum court of judges, will continue to maintain its efficiency with the available resources. I wish to emphasize that the quality of justice will not be compromised, not even in these harsh and difficult economic times”.She noted further that the judiciary “has embarked on several initiatives to help improve efficiency in the face of the world wide economic adversity which has impacted our member states and territories”. Pereira explained that the Court has been working assiduously towards improving the access of information to the public.“Efficiency and integrity are ingrained in the mission and vision statements of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court to serve its member states by providing access to its system of justice that is accountable and independent in a prompt, fair and effective manner. Inherent in the access to justice, is the guarantee that each citizen is able to acquire the necessary knowledge, understanding, awareness and ability to exercise his or her right to justice, through formal as well as informal institutions”.Pereira acknowledged public education and community outreach as a “crucial factor” in their quest to “facilitate this knowledge, understanding and awareness” of the system of justice. “In our bid to maintain accountability and transparency, information about the Court should always be accessible and pertinent to those whom we serve so that they can better understand the workings of our Court”. She highlighted the Court’s website www.eccourts.org as a “very practical and economical tool” in providing timely updates on judgments at the high court and court of appeal levels, reporting decisions from the Privy Council, relevant court forms, Civil Procedure Rules and amendments, practice directions, sittings of the various courts and detailed accounts of the Court’s initiatives. According to the acting chief justice, in an effort to “promote efficiency and integrity and maintain the trust and confidence of the people of our region, the Court is “committed to initiating, supporting and participating in programs” which can enhance the public understanding of the law and the judicial system.This will include education on the “role and functions of the court and the way judges rule according to law” which she believes can assist in keeping member states informed and confident in a system that equitable and embraces equal access to all.Consequently, the Court will embark on a number of outreach programs within this new law term with a view to promoting “court transparency”. “It is intended that this initiative include educational programs for school, media, counsel; using forums such as television features, radio interviews, news paper articles, judges discussions and the like and conferences. It is also proposed to have bulletins as is necessary published on our website all in an effort to continue improving access to justice and maintain confidence in the judiciary”. Members of the public were implored to visit the website so as to keep informed about the Court and its programs. Dominica Vibes Newslast_img read more