Text messaging remains relevant in Philippines

Elijah Felice Rosales - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The lack of reliable internet service in the Philippines will keep short messaging services (SMS) relevant to local consumers despite the rising popularity of free text apps like Viber.

In an interview with The STAR, Infobip Philippines country manager Charist Montenegro said the telco industry has nothing to worry about the longevity of SMS as a messaging platform.

Montenegro said SMS would stay on for long even though Filipinos, particularly the youth, are starting to shift to instant messaging apps to communicate with family and friends.

For one, Montenegro said banks still use SMS to send one time passwords (OTP) to customers in verifying transactions done online. Further, the government deploys its emergency advisories through SMS to ensure that they reach as many Filipinos as possible.

“I think SMS will live long here in the Philippines and that it’s going to be staying for quite a long while. In particular, banks use SMS as their platform for verifying your transaction,” Montenegro said.

“Apart from authentication, the government relies on SMS to send out its typhoon advisories, as SMS can reach areas that could be lacking in internet infrastructure,” she said.

Montenegro said that Filipinos may find it challenging to abandon SMS altogether and transition to free text apps like Viber in the absence of reliable internet services nationwide.

“SMS is sent to your phone regardless of what other channels you use. Other channels depend on the Internet for them to function. With this, many would still use SMS as a basic and primary service for engagement,” Montenegro said.

Infobip Philippines, the local unit of the cloud giant based in Croatia, hopes to capitalize on both online and offline platforms to expand its reach in the Philippines. For next year, the firm wants to widen its portfolio that is made up mostly of retail accounts.

“We will take an aggressive approach for next year. We would really want to expand to make the market learn about our cloud services and improve the way goods and services are introduced to customers,” Montenegro said.

Infobip Philippines provides clients with multiple mechanisms in which they can target a specific audience to promote their products and services.

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