Filipino mobile operator Digitel (Sun Cellular), owned by the Gokongwei group, reported 8.154 million subscribers at the end of December 2008, but fell short of its ten million target despite a raft of promotions and special offers. Digitel was hoping to sign up an average of 500,000 subscribers a month in 2008 aided by innovative offers such as its ‘unlimited text messaging’ – a promotion later followed by its rivals – which helped it to reach 6.5 million users in July, more than twice the three million users it had at end-2007. The cellco said it had 3,230 cellular sites in operation at the end of 2008, while its network coverage reached 130 cities (or 95.58% of the population) and 85% in 69 provinces. Sun Cellular users sent a total of 59.72 million text messages a day during the fourth quarter, compared with 49.53 million in the third quarter, 49.28 million in the second quarter, and 46.33 million in the first quarter of 2008.
Going forward, Digitel says it will be investing USD300 million a year to fund its rollout of 3G services in the country, as well as on expanding its broadband service, and increasing its mobile phone cell sites to 4,000 by year-end Its CAPEX will be funded by loans and internally-generated funds, it said.