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Mobile browsing business growing in the Philippines

Tam Noda (The Philippine Star) - June 11, 2013 - 6:05pm

MANILA, Philippines - Telcos on Tuesday claimed that a competitive and mature mobile market now exists in the Philippines with the rapid success of the mobile browsing business.

Globe Telecom (Globe)  said it decided to strengthen its mobile browsing services as it has emerged to be the company's fastest-growing product line.

Yet the Philippine Long Distance and Telephone Co. (PLDT) reported that its mobile internet revenues has surged 42 percent or to almost P1 billion in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2012.

Ernest Cu, Globe's president and CEO, said the company's mobile browsing business in the first quarter of 2013 had a robust double-digit growth in revenues year-on-year, outpacing the already phenomenal revenue growth of its postpaid and broadband businesses.

Mobile browsing and other data revenues now account for 13 percent of total mobile revenues, up from 12 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 10 percent in the first quarter of 2012.

Responding to the growing demand for instant access to social networking accounts on mobile, Globe beefed up its mobile browsing plans SuperFB for prepaid subscribers and AstigFB for TM subscribers by offering longer denomination variants at a much affordable price. For only P15, Globe prepaid and TM subscribers can now have unlimited access to Facebook on mobile for two days. The 1-day variant is available for P10.

For users who browse other sites aside from Facebook, Globe boosted its data plan offerings with PowerSurf Megabytes, or mobile browsing plans that give prepaid and postpaid subscribers bulk megabytes (MB) of mobile data that is consumable per kilobyte (KB).

With PowerSurf MB, subscribers only pay for actual data used. This means subscribers can comfortably leave their mobile data connection enabled and use features like push notifications or background syncing without accumulating an expensive bill.

Globe has provided subscribers various PowerSurf plans with data caps ranging from 20MB up to 1GB depending on their prices.

Jenny Granada-Echevarria, head of Globe mobile data services, declared that gone are the days when mobile browsing is feared by many because of billshock or the lack of understanding on how it works.

"With the growing penchant of Filipinos for smartphones and instant internet access, we are seeing a bright potential for mobile browsing as the next big thing for Globe and the industry in general," Granada-Echevarria said.

Providing extra backend support to its mobile browsing offers is the completion of the first phase of Globe's massive network modernization program.

At present, Globe said over 60 percent of the Globe network is already running on 4G HSPA+ which provides faster mobile browsing experience for customers.

According to Orlando Vea, Smart Communications Chief Wireless Advisor and Sun Cellular CEO, the number of smartphones in the PLDT Group network went up by 25 percent from the end-2012 figure as the cost of these mobile phones continues to fall.

Smart and Sun Cellular are the mobile subsidiaries of PLDT.

Vea shared that PLDT expects the launch of smartphones in the US$50 (P2,000) level would translate to much stronger take-up of smartphones and tablet devices and more importantly, translate to higher mobile internet revenues.

BROWSING DATA ERNEST CU FACEBOOK GLOBE GLOBE TELECOM JENNY GRANADA-ECHEVARRIA MOBILE ORLANDO VEA SMART AND SUN CELLULAR SMART COMMUNICATIONS CHIEF WIRELESS ADVISOR AND SUN CELLULAR
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