March 7, 2017 / 5:55 AM / 5 months ago

RPT-Philippines' PLDT forecasts first annual growth in three years

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MANILA, March 7 (Reuters) - The Philippines' most valuable telecoms firm, PLDT Inc, on Tuesday said recurring income will likely grow in 2017 for the first time in three years, recovering from a price war and shift to mobile internet services that have eroded revenue from calls and texts.

PLDT and rival Globe Telecom Inc last year raised the ire of President Rodrigo Duterte who accused them of failing to improve services. He gave them a year to reform otherwise he would open up the telecoms sector to foreign competition.

PLDT, part-owned by Japan's NTT DoCoMo Inc and Hong Kong's First Pacific Co Ltd, said recurring core income is likely to reach 21.5 billion pesos ($427.61 million) in 2017.

Recurring core income, which excludes proceeds from asset sales, accelerated depreciation, one-time provisions and subsidies, totalled 20.2 billion pesos last year.

"We faced very tough tests in the past year as competition intensified and the shift to digital services accelerated," PLDT Chairman Manuel Pangilinan said in a statement.

PLDT and Globe are engaged in a price war to attract mobile internet subscribers, spurred by the spread of smartphones, while revenue continues to fall in the traditional cash cows of calls and text messaging.

The Philippines' telecoms services are widely considered to be among the world's poorest, frustrating businesses and consumers with intermittent data, dropped calls and poor cellular coverage, even in urban centres. ($1 = 50.2790 Philippine pesos) (Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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