The Philippines is one of Asia’s ‘youngest nations’, with a median age of 23 across a population of about 104 million. According to research findings (GlobalWebIndex, Global Digital Report 2019), people in the Philippines spend an average of 10 hours a day online, the highest ranked in the world. It is also interesting to note that Filipinos spend about half of this time online (just under five hours a day) on their mobile devices.

Mobile phone penetration in the Philippines is high, at 119 million subscriptions or approximately 117 percent of the population. However, only between 53 and 55 percent of these connections currently have a mobile broadband subscription. Given the appetite to get online and the relatively low median age, there is undoubted room for growth in this sector, both across mobile subscriptions and internet usage.

Earlier today, we had the pleasure of hosting Mr. Chuck Robbins, our CEO, as well as PLDT Chairman and CEO Mr Manuel “Manny” V, Pangilinan, at an event that took place in Manila.

We gathered to commemorate a partnership between Cisco and PLDT that will transform PLDT’s infrastructure and prepare the Philippines for a 5G ready network that will usher in a new generation of digital experiences for both businesses and consumers in the country.

This is the result of years of hard work from both our teams, and we are honoured and proud to be able to partner PLDT in this iconic development that will address the country’s growing mobile needs and undoubtedly improve the lives of millions of citizens.

Together, Cisco and PLDT will embark on a fully automated 5G-ready network that will enable PLDT to deliver world-class high-speed mobile and internet access for consumers and businesses across the country. This enhanced network will have low latency, enabling PLDT to offer a broad suite of best-in-class services including high-end video streaming as well as augmented and virtual reality.

In addition, the automated architecture of the network will enable PLDT to analyse, plan and optimize the network to deliver more services while effectively managing traffic, resulting in an improved experience for end users. The software defined architecture will also enable PLDT to embed cybersecurity into customer services and safeguard their data.

This is a milestone achievement for the Philippines. Our partnership has the potential to transform digital services industries in the Philippines by creating a vibrant ecosystem of devices, applications, and content. This next-generation software-defined infrastructure will enable PLDT to launch digital services faster, serve sectors like the Internet of Things (IoT) and support development of key growth areas of the Philippines economy such as Smart City initiatives.

Down the line, the foundation we build now will prepare PLDT to roll out 5G services across the Philippines. This will open huge opportunities for consumers, businesses and the government. More consumers will be able to access rich content and services online and do so faster and more affordably, while businesses will be able to cater to consumers’ growing demands and monetize new products and services. These developments will also empower the government to create opportunities to provide enhanced citizen services across the country, as part of its push towards digital transformation across the country.

This is a timely transformation, one that I am genuinely excited by. I look forward to partnering closely with the PLDT team on achieving our combined objectives, collaborating to meet the growing needs of Filipinos, and working to improve the lives, and livelihoods, of millions in the country.


Dharmesh Malhotra

Managing Director Service Provider, ASEAN