Smart gears up to meet rising smartphone demand
Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is putting its smartphone sales into high gear in anticipation of a sharp increase in demand in 2012, a company official said.
According to Broadband Internet and Data Services Head Gio Bacareza, Smart is taking measures to speed up the acquisition and the delivery of smartphones to its wireless centers and to its customers to avoid long wait times.
Among the efforts now in place is the Smart Online Store (store.smart.com.ph) which enables anyone to avail of Smart’s products online at the comfort of their own home. The service includes free nationwide delivery until June 30, 2012.
Existing Smart Postpaid subscribers are also rewarded with various freebies and discounts via the Smart Rewards loyalty program.
“We have seen tremendous spikes in smartphone sales from both ends of the market—Netphone sales alone have reached the 100,000 mark and has since been the best- and fastest-selling smartphone in the company’s history ,” said Bacareza. “Meanwhile, iPhone 4S sales have exceeded all expectations making it most sought-after premium smartphone from Smart,” he added.
Smart reported a doubling of the number of subscribers using smartphones in its network during the last four months of 2011. The climb is in sync with the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) report that the worldwide smartphone market grew by as much as 54.7% year over year in the same period.
In 2011 Smart launched the Netphone, a line of Android smartphones which feature the homegrown SmartNet suite of applications. SmartNet allows users to chat, search for and add friends online, download free apps, and check on their load/credit balance in real time for free.
The Netphone is available in 2 variants: the Netphone 701 which is available for P4,990 on prepaid and the Samsung Galaxy Y Netphone Edition which comes free with unlimited Smart-to-Smart texting (UNLItext) and unlimited Facebook, Twitter, and SmartNet feeds (UNLIsocial) at Netphone Plan 349.
All Android phones from Smart now have SmartNet installed including the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first smartphone in the world which uses the new Android version 4 (Ice Cream Sandwich) operating system.
Meanwhile, Smart subscribers who purchased Android devices from third party retailers can still use SmartNet by downloading the app from the Android Market.
In December of the same year, Smart officially entered the Apple market as it became the first in the Philippines to make available the iPhone 4S. Dubbed as “the most amazing iPhone yet”, the iPhone 4S features Siri, Apple’s patented voice assistant technology, Facetime video calling for Apple devices, and a high-definition 8-megapixel still and video camera.
The Apple iPhone 4S is available for as low as P999/month with Smart’s iPhone Plan 999.
Smart also carries the latest, the best, and the widest range of smart devices across all operating systems. Among those in its roster of smart devices are the 5.3-inch Samsung Galaxy Note (free at Unlimited Data Plan 2000), the Meego-powered Nokia N9 (free at Unlimited Data Plan 2000), and the thinnest Blackberry ever the Blackberry Bold 9900 (P1,200 at All-In Plan 3500).
“Our network is ready”
Making available the best devices, however, is only a part of the equation as Smart readies its network to meet the increased demand for mobile data.
Under its P67.1 billion modernization program, Smart, together with its parent company Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) is set to complete the country’s first true fourth-generation (4G) wireless network by as early as June 2012.
A network is deemed 4G-ready when it is able to deploy High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) services. With a compatible device, Smart’s HSPA+ and LTE networks can deliver speeds of up to 84Mbps and over 100Mbps, respectively.
“Once our network transformation is complete, we will be able to instantly switch on HSPA+ or LTE in areas where they are needed,” said Bacareza. “Couple that with the best data packages we are already offering such as UNLIsurf and Always On and Filipinos are assured of a truly world-class mobile experience.”