16.8 MILLION FILIPINOS OWN CELLPHONES

Makati City, May 20, 2003 -- The penetration rate for wireless or mobile 
phones is seen to hit 25 percent ahead of 2005, as providers Smart 
Communications and Globe Telecoms produced better than expected growth in 
net income and subscriber base at the end of the first quarter.

At the end of the first quarter, the rate is at 20.5 percent, from 
end-2002's 19.5 percent, data from the National Telecommunications 
Commission showed.

This means 20.5 percent of the total 82 million Filipinos or 16.8 millon 
already have cellular phones as competitive rates drove consumers to shift 
from landline cellular phones. As of the first three months of the year, 
there are already 16.5 million mobile phone subscribers around the country, 
excluding those who have signed up with new entrant Sun Cellular which 
launched its services in April.

At the company's investors' briefing yesterday, Globe chief finance officer 
Delfin Gonzales said industry projection of 25 percent teledensity rate 
could be achieved earlier than 2005.

Gonzalez explained that this could mean that by 2005, the rate could be 
higher than 25 percent, as the take-up in the provincial market is stronger 
than expected.

"New traffic has been generated for this quarter with provincial users 
sending text messages to their relatives abroad," he said.

Earlier, industry experts have projected growth in mobile phone network to 
be slower in the coming years with penetration rate expected to reach 25 
percent by until 2005.

The mobile phone industry experienced a boom in 2000 when the subscriber 
base reached 6 million and doubled the following year.

Globe, the country's second-largest phone company, has reported a 41 
percent jump in its first quarter profits to P1.42 billion with around 7.1 
million subscribers, or about 43 percent of the total market.

Globe - which is owned by Singapore Telecommunications Ltd., Philippine 
conglomerate Ayala Corp. and Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG - said, it is 
studying plans of putting up more cellsites this year.

Philippine Long Distance Co. (PLDT) subsidiary Smart, Globe's 
market-leading rival reported an income surge of 87 percent to P2.8 billion.

Smart continued to be PLDT's main revenue driver, ending first quarter with 
a 57 percent market share or 9.4 million subscribers. Smart has 7.4 million 
subscribers, representing 45 percent of the market while Talk 'N Text had 
two million subscribers accounting for 12 percent of the market. (By 
RACHELLE FRIGINAL, Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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