Smart subscriber base expands 16% to 35 million in 2008

Published by rudy Date posted on January 3, 2009

Despite stiff competition and an economic slowdown, leading wireless services provider Smart Communications Inc. increased its subscriber base to 35 million as of end-2008, up 16 percent from end-2007.

Company officials said Smart achieved this by coming out with customer-focused service offerings that addressed the observed preferences of various segments of both its prepaid and postpaid subscriber base.

The company also took the lead in promoting mobile Internet usage in the country, they said.

“Smart has maintained its leadership in the mobile phone industry through innovative product offerings based on strategic market segmentation,” Smart president and CEO Napoleon Nazareno said. “We call it ‘slicing and dicing’ the market and the objective is to address the needs of different segments of our subscriber base.”

“We complemented our initiatives in our mainstream business by introducing mobile broadband services that are laying the foundation for our future growth. This is part of our vision of promoting Internet for all as a means of further improving the lives of Filipinos,” Smart chief wireless advisor Orlando Vea added.

Much of the growth in the cellular business was powered by new low cost service offerings that were developed based on the usage patterns of subscribers.

For example, heavy text users benefited from such packages as Smart Buddy’s All Text 20 which offered 100 free on-net SMS and 10 bonus off-net messages for only P20. Voice callers on the other hand availed of such packages as the All Calls 20 which offers 10 minutes of airtime for only P20, or P2 per minute, for calls to other numbers in the Smart network. For Talk ‘N Text, offers such as the Gaan Talk Piso Minuto gave real value to subscribers, with its P1 per minute rate.

In the last quarter of 2008, Smart also boosted its postpaid business by introducing Smart Gold Lite which offers a very affordable voice call rate of P2 per minute for Smart-to-Smart calls.

Underpinning these product offers, Smart strengthened its brand-building efforts for both Smart Buddy and Talk N Text, its major prepaid service brands. Launched in May 2008, Smart’s “Me na Me” campaign for Smart Buddy highlighted how the services and rates offered by Smart Buddy answer every need of every type of mobile subscriber.

The Talk ‘N Text “Gumagaan ang Life!” advertising campaign was launched in February, highlighting the brand’s value-driven or “sulit” call and text packages and superior network coverage.

After building its fixed wireless Internet service, Smart is now also developing its mobile Internet business. In 2008, it launched postpaid and prepaid Smart Bro mobile Internet services using USB modem devices. By year’s end, this was the fastest-growing segment of the wireless broadband business.–Mary Ann Ll. Reyes, Philippine Star

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