Over 66 million Filipinos gain access to the Internet
In an unprecedented move, wireless services leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) together with Talk ‘N Text and Sun Cellular today announced that they will start providing free Internet access to its prepaid subscriber base via their mobile phones.
Through this special offer, all of the 66 million Smart Prepaid, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun Cellular Prepaid subscribers can use their data-enabled cellphones to browse through and post on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, visit their favorites websites, search on Google and Wikipedia, use navigation tools like Waze and Google Maps, book a cab or limo service via Easy Taxi and Uber, or use traffic info sites such as the MMDA's and InterAksyon's.
They can also send and receive emails, read their favorite blogs or update their own blogs, listen to songs via Smart’s Spinnr music service, shop via online stores like Zalora, Lazada, book their travel details through sites like Skyscanner and Expedia, among other things – all without incurring data charges.
Subscribers can access the internet either through data-capable feature phones or smartphones running on Android, iOS and Windows operating systems. This special offer will be available initially until November 30, 2014.
“We are launching this initiative to provide a much larger number of Filipinos the opportunity to try out and experience the Internet, enjoy its benefits and, as we at Smart like to say, live more,” said Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman of Smart and its parent company PLDT.
“This special offer is specifically designed to assist our prepaid subscribers who make up the bulk of our population. Many of them already have the mobile devices capable of accessing the internet but have yet to use them to go online. In this way, Smart can effectively promote digital inclusion and spread the benefits of the Internet in the fastest and most effective way possible,” he added.
Smart’s free mobile Internet offer follows the telco leader’s recent announcement that it has stepped up the deployment of its mobile internet network, to meet the growing demand for mobile data services.Smart recently reported a 73% hike in mobile data traffic, as smartphone prices continue to fall and innovative services like SmartNet and PisoNet allow more and more Filipinos to gain access to the Internet via their mobile phones.
“The strength and resiliency of our mobile data infrastructure enable us to make this special free internet offer available to our prepaid subscribers. Moreover, we continue to expand the reach of our network so that we can bring the internet to more communities all over the country,” said Napoleon L. Nazareno, president and CEO of Smart and PLDT.
The PLDT Group has thus far rolled out about 90,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables all over the country which provides the transmission facilities needed to support internet services. It has also the most extensive international cable systems needed to connect the Philippines to the rest of the world.
Internet for All
“This special offer is in line with our advocacy of ‘Internet for All’,” said Orlando B. Vea, Smart’s chief wireless advisor.
“It complements the affordable mobile Internet packages that Smart has been introducing over the past year. Among the latest of such innovations are PowerApp and the PisoNet service which provides 10 minutes of mobile internet access for one peso,” he explained.
To avail of the free mobile internet offer, Smart, Talk N Text and Sun Cellular subscribers must have an available airtime balance of at least one peso, or is subscribed to any load bucket or promo. They must register each day, by simply sending “FREE” to the number “9999.” Registration is free. They will receive an SMS confirmation upon successful registration.
Once registered, subscribers can enjoy a free data volume package of up to 30MB per day. Data charges will however apply to peer-to-peer uploads and downloads, videos, VOIP and messaging