'Digital Could Be A Lifeline for Everything,' says Ernest Cu as Globe Gears Up for A Sustainable Digital Future

Globe is gearing up for a sustainable digital future for Filipinos using its robust and pervasive network to carry on technological advancements that could help address problems that people are facing.


Speaking during the “The Future of the ICT Industry” virtual forum led by the Department of Information and Communications (DICT), Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu said, “digital could be a lifeline for everything.” 


“I think the biggest winner here is the Filipino. We believe that, given the limitations of this country, digital is truly the answer to help solve a lot of our problems.  In terms of future readiness, we are here to encourage digital use and arm our customers for a sustainable tomorrow,” Cu said. 


He noted that with the accelerated digital adoption during the pandemic, millions of people now have access to financial services and highly affordable healthcare.


For instance, GCash, the country’s leading e-wallet service, now has 40 million users and 1.9 million merchants.  GCash allows purchases, payments, and investments via mobile phones or tablets.  With GCash, even the unbanked sector can save money, get loans, buy insurance, invest in bonds and stocks, among other transactions.  


Through GCash, Globe wants to provide many more use cases supporting the efforts of the Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP).  The Roadmap aims to convert half of the total retail transactions to digital channels and raise the number of Filipino adults with bank accounts to 70% by 2023.


“While there's still a long way to go with increasing connectivity in the far-flung areas, GCash will extend inclusion to the far reaches of our economy,” Cu said.


The telco also continues to empower primary healthcare through KonsultaMD, which now has over one million members.  KonsultaMD is a 24/7 telehealth service that gives everyone unlimited consultations with licensed doctors for as low as P60 a month.


“We all know there's a dearth of doctors in this country, and there are no clinics in many parts of the country as well.  But now, through the phone, you can have voice or video consultations through KonsultaMD at a very low price.  Truly, this democratizes primary health,” Cu said.


GCash and KonsultaMD are portfolio companies under 917 Ventures, the country’s largest corporate venture builder wholly owned by Globe. 917Ventures helps consumers and businesses thrive and triumph in today’s challenging environment.  Its other companies are healthcare service integrator HealthNow, digital advertising solution provider AdSpark, customer loyalty and e-commerce solutions experts RUSH, and online grocery shopping platform, PureGo. 


On the other hand, Globe’s corporate venture capital subsidiary, Kickstart Ventures, helps start-up companies flourish through funding and portfolio development.  “We hope that we’ll be able to provide access to Filipino companies that are growing so they can tap into the Globe and Ayala ecosystems and deliver the capital they need to grow and become a world-class player in various sectors that they participate in,” Cu said.


DICT Secretary Gregorio Honasan II said technology is constantly changing and ever-evolving around the world.  New needs that are massively dependent on maximizing ICT use to thrive in the new normal have emerged.


“Today's cutting-edge innovations will be tomorrow's obsolete system. New ICT developments are more of the needs of the present and have the vision of a more inclusive and sustainable future. These advancements continue to shape and revolutionize various sectors of our society,” Honasan said.


Meanwhile, Globe’s massive infrastructure investments over the past years resulted in expanded coverage nationwide with 11,054 cell towers, 10,021 sites upgraded to 4G/LTE, 1,656 5G locations, and  526,774 fiber lines built.

   

“We have to keep up the never-ending CAPEX pressures that this industry has brought upon us. We also tried to bring about a seamless ecosystem of customer-centric solutions.  For us, the customer is at the forefront of everything we do. We want to serve them despite limitations for the pandemic and everything else,” Cu added.


Globe is also working closely with the Ayala Group in integrating sustainability practices into the group’s operations and programs.  “Our objective is to be a very socially and sustainably responsible company, because that way we ensure that this country and the world sustains itself throughout as we progress,” he said.


Globe is committed to upholding the United Nations Global Compact Principles and contributes to 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals, among which is UN SDG No. 9 that highlights the roles of infrastructure and innovation as crucial drivers of economic growth and development.


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