Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sun Cellular posts 10-million subscriber count in 2009

DIGITEL Mobile Philippines Inc. (DMPI), operator of the Sun Cellular brand, registered more than 10 million subscribers in 2009. Information provided by the Gokongwei-controlled mobile phone operator indicated that the number of Sun Cellular subscribers increased by about 2 million last year from 8.2 million in 2008. “Sun Cellular holds the distinction of being the fastest growing mobile network provider in the country with more than 10 million subscribers supported by its over 5,000 cellular sites nationwide,” it said. The company intends to add 5 million to 6 million new subscribers every year. Sun Cellular was introduced in 2003. Three years later, its subscriber base reached 2.3 million. The brand pioneered unlimited call and text messaging services for subscribers. It has been upgrading its services by continuously expanding network coverage through aggressive network rollouts. Digitel is the listed phone firm of conglomerate JG Summit Inc. In 2007 the cellular firm claimed it took the No. 2 spot in overall postpaid subscriptions and was No. 1 in postpaid acquisition for the year. “Sun Cellular is the leader in postpaid growth with seven out of 10 postpaid subscribers choosing [the brand],” it said. The company capped 2008 with 4,000 cell sites to support the needs of its subscribers. Sun Cellular is currently the third-largest mobile phone operator. Smart Communications Inc. is still the leading cellular firm in terms of subscriber count with 40 million registered at end-2009. Smart is a wholly owned unit of phone giant Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. Globe Telecom, the joint venture between Ayala Corp. and SingTel, has yet to report its subscriber numbers. As of end-September last year, Globe had 23.1 million subscribers. Mobile telephony has reached over 80 percent SIM (subscriber identification module) penetration level; however, taking out incidences of multi-SIM usage, penetration on a unique subscriber basis is around 79 percent as of end-September 2009. It is expected that the mobile market will continue to see growth, albeit at a slower rate compared with the high double-digit growth rates back in the earlier years. The third-quarter performance of the cellular firms was adversely affected by the effects of the global recession. However, they anticipate the usual boost in the fourth quarter last year as a result of holiday spending.

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