PLDT, Inc. and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. on Thursday said nearly three million of their combined customers have shifted to paperless billing as mobility restrictions continue.

“The telco has seen over 2.91 million customers shift to paperless billing as of February 2021,” PLDT and Smart said in an e-mailed statement.

PLDT and Smart said they expanded their digital payment channels and online billing services for transactions to encourage their customers to stay home.

“By using online payment channels, our customers do not have to physically go to our stores to pay their bills. It saves them time, money, and at the same time, protects them from possible exposure to COVID-19,” said Jane J. Basas, senior vice-president and head of consumer wireless business at Smart.

Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart president and chief executive officer and PLDT chief revenue officer, noted both companies have various platforms for their customers to allow them to accelerate their own digital transformation.

Last year, PLDT saw its total revenues grow 7% to P181 billion, with service revenues increasing 8% to P173.63 billion amid an accelerated shift to digital services.

PLDT’s telco core income grew 4% to P28.09 billion.

The company attributed the 73% of its net service revenue of P171.5 billion to data.

Its individual business contributed P82.7 billion (up 15%) to the service revenues, followed by home at P41.4 billion (up 11%), and enterprise at P41.2 billion (up 5%).

PLDT intends to spend between P88 billion and P92 billion this year, mainly to support the rise in mobile data traffic.

PLDT shares closed 0.16% lower at P1,248 apiece on Thursday.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin