Mobile phone operator Sun Cellular raised its net service revenues by a robust 17.54% the first quarter of 2012, earning Php4.2B versus Php3.6B for the same period last year, the highest growth rate for any local telco this year.

Revenue from Sun Cellular’s postpaid segment in the first quarter of 2012 grew by 20.91% compared to the same period last year. 2G postpaid subscribers at the end of March increased to 1.41 million, up 26% from 1.12 million in the same period last year.

Sun Cellular President and Chief Executive Officer Orlando Vea attributed the company’s strong first quarter results to the encouraging consumer response to its service offers and the marked improvement of Sun’s network coverage powered by its synergy with parent company, PLDT.

“We wish to thank our subscribers for their support, and we will be offering even better products and services to be offered to ensure that this momentum will be sustained,” he said.

Vea added that the company will continue to improve its network quality, particularly with regard to indoor signal strength and capacity. Utilizing an all-IP network, Sun Cellular is deploying high-gain antennae as well as upgraded network elements in its continued efforts to meet the growing demands for its postpaid and prepaid products and services.

Elaborating on Sun Cellular’s first quarter performance, Chief Operating Officer Charles Lim pointed to the positive impact of new subscriptions to higher plans such as the Plan 450 Call and Surf, and the introduction of innovative new postpaid plans like the Plan 250 launched in selected areas in Luzon and Mindanao.

“The timing of the launch of these new plans was great as it was complemented by the stronger network that we now have,” Lim explains.

Plan 450 Call and Surf gives customers with smartphones allows unlimited calling and texting within the Sun network plus 20 hours of free mobile internet access so they can maximize the use of their web-enabled devices.

Plan 250 is a special postpaid subscription plan for specific regions. These plans, which are more affordable compared to mainstream product offerings, entice would-be subscribers with the free handset that comes with it.

Lim added that the prepaid market continues to be robust for Sun Cellular as this segment grew by 10% percent in the first quarter to Php2.2B compared with Php2B for the same period last year.

“As our network improves, our subscribers are starting to use their lines more often. As a result, people are starting to load in higher denominations such as our Text Unlimited 150 and 200. Also, the demand for our newly-launched “TRIO” bucket loads — which allow calling and texting among Sun, Smart, and Talk and Text subscribers at affordable rates — is picking up,” Lim explained.

He added that the firm’s wireless broadband business continued to perform strongly, registering a 54% rise in net service revenues to Php487.1 million for the first quarter this year.

“Our broadband subscriber base at the end of March climbed 54% for postpaid subscribers and 73% for prepaid subscribers respectively compared with the same period last year. We are expecting these numbers to rise steadily given the market’s greater demand for mobility,” Lim said.

He added that Sun Cellular started offering SIM-only plans to cater to subscribers who want to use Sun Cellular’s broadband service in their various gadgets, in anticipation of the continuing growing demand for broadband access.
When PLDT acquired Sun Cellular from the JG Summit group last year, it commited to continue offering its signature unlimited service packages. In addition, initiatives to integrate the PLDT, Smart and Sun networks are being pursued to support these service offerings.

“We would like to make sure that our existing and potential subscribers are able to take advantage of the synergies available within the PLDT group, and we are glad that these are starting to pay off,” Lim concluded. –end-