Issue of December 3, 2017
     
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UN study says PH mobile, data deals becoming more cheaper
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

Mobile cellular, and mobile and fixed broadband services in the Philippines have become more affordable in recent years and compare favorably with prices in other Asia Pacific countries and the rest of the world, according to the latest report of a United Nations agency.

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the UN agency that coordinates telecom operations and services throughout the world, reported that mobile data prices in the country fell nearly 70 percent from 2015 to 2016 as mobile operators pushed mobile broadband services more aggressively.

The ITU report, “Measuring the Information Society 2017,” calculates, among others, prices of telecom services as a percentage of a country’s gross national income per capita (GNI pc) per month. GNI measures income received by a country both domestically and from overseas. GNI per capita is gross national income divided by population.  

By this measure, Philippine cellular and broadband prices have become more reasonably priced.

According to the two-volume report shared by Smart Telecom, the Philippines’ mobile cellular prices (defined as the average cost of 100 SMS and 30 mobile calls per month) are 3.2 percent of the country’s average monthly GNI pc in 2016, down from 3.42 percent the previous year.

The 2016 figure is also at par with the Asia and the Pacific region’s average of 3.2 percent and well below the world average of 5.2 percent.

The ITU report also said that fixed broadband prices (monthly subscription to an entry-level fixed-broadband plan, based on a monthly data usage of one gigabyte (GB) minimum) are at 7.1 percent of GNI pc, down from 7.53 percent in 2015 and well below the regional average of 14.5 percent and the global average of 13.9 percent.

Mobile broadband prices for 500 megabytes and one gigabyte worth of data, on the other hand, each make up 2.1 percent of the GNI pc. Both figures are lower than the Asia Pacific averages of 2.7 percent and 5.4 percent, respectively, and the world averages of 3.7 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively.

Between 2015 and 2016, mobile-broadband services for 1GB data in particular have become more affordable, dropping by 4.64-percentage points from 6.74 percent to 2.1 percent.

The ITU said this means that for every P100 in monthly GNI, every Filipino spends only P3.20 in mobile-cellular services, P7.10 in fixed broadband services, and P2.10 for either 500MB or 1GB data in mobile broadband.

As of 2016, GNI per capita in the Philippines is at $3,580, which is comparable to neighbor Indonesia’s $3,400 for the same year.

Compared to Indonesia, which is also an archipelagic country, the Philippines’ mobile-cellular and fixed-broadband prices as percentage of GNI per capita are more affordable than Indonesia’s 3.3 percent and 10.6 percent, respectively, while mobile-broadband prices for 1GB data in the two countries are almost the same (2.1 percent vs. 2 percent).


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