ABS-CBN Corporation is shutting down its mobile venture after sustaining huge financial losses of up to P560 million in 2017. ABS-CBN Mobile (or ABS-CBNmobile) failed to achieve profitability despite heavy marketing by the network’s stable of celebrities. ABS-CBN Mobile currently has over 1 million subscribers.
“After a thorough assessment, ABS-CBN Convergence deemed its current mobile business model to be financially unsustainable. As a result, ABS-CBN Convergence and Globe reached an agreement not to renew their mobile network sharing agreement and to look at more profitable opportunities in the content business,” the company said in a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange.
ABS-CBN chief financial officer Aldrin Cerrado said that ABS-CBN Mobile incurred P560 million in losses last year. The company, however, managed to cut down its losses this year. The company’s interconnection costs for the first quarter went down to P49 million from P81 million in the same period last year.
ABS-CBN Mobile prepaid, postpaid and Sky Mobi subscribers can still enjoy texting, calling and Internet services until the final date to be approved by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).
Despite the decision to shut down its mobile arm, ABS-CBN will still continue its partnership with Globe Telecom in the digital TV field. The two companies will keep their connections for ABS-CBN TV Plus boxes, iWant TV and Kapamilya Box Office (KBO).
ABS-CBN and Globe are exploring the possibility of bundling ABS-CBN TV Plus boxes with Globe at Home prepaid Wi-Fi subscriptions, as well as offering KBO and iWant TV services to all Globe subscribers.
History of ABS-CBN Mobile
ABS-CBN and Globe signed a network-sharing agreement on May 28, 2013 that allowed ABS-CBN to offer SMS, voice and data services using Globe’s telecommunications network. The deal also enabled the two companies to share their assets and infrastructure such as transmitters, servers, switches and frequencies.
Under the agreement, ABS-CBN agreed to pay Globe for bandwidth costs and other technical and support expenses. The deal also saw the sale of Bayan Telecommunications (Bayantel) to Globe under a debt purchase agreement.
The NTC approved the deal on June 8, 2013 and ABS-CBN Mobile was officially launched on November 16, 2013 to much fanfare.
Since then, ABS-CBN Mobile has partnered with several companies such as Huawei, Cloudfone, Viber and KakaoTalk to improve its service offerings. Despite heavy promotion by the TV network’s popular celebrities, ABS-CBN Mobile failed to break even, suffering massive financial losses every year of its operation. The company incurred a P700 million loss in 2015 and P600 million in 2016.
What’s Next for ABS-CBN Mobile Subscribers?
ABS-CBN Mobile subscribers will surely be let down by the news of the impending shutdown. The best course of action for ABS-CBN Mobile subscribers would be to wait for further developments and announcements from the company. It’s possible that ABS-CBN Converge might strike a deal with Globe to allow ABS-CBN Mobile subscribers to move to the Globe network using their existing mobile number.
At the moment, it’s not possible to transfer ABS-CBN Mobile prepaid load credits to a Globe number, so subscribers are advised to consume their prepaid load before the scheduled shutdown that will be announced soon.