PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has sustained its growth in the first half of 2021 on the back of increased data users and mobile data traffic and the introduction of new data offers.
Total mobile data users on Smart's network increased to 39.5 million or by 6.1 million at the end of June, compared to the same period the previous year. This puts Smart ahead of competitors with the most number of data users in the Philippines.
This has pushed mobile data revenues up by 12% to ₱35.0 billion in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year, ahead of competition's 7% growth over the same period.
Since the start of the pandemic-related lockdowns in the first quarter of 2020, total mobile data traffic on Smart’s network has reached a total of 4,460 petabytes, ahead of competition for the same period, as its customers used Smart’s fast and reliable mobile connectivity to support online learning, work from home, communications, entertainment, and livelihood.
In the face of these pandemic-induced challenges of business closures, loss of livelihood and limited mobility impacting Individual consumers, PLDT’s Consumer Wireless business segment’s revenues rose 7% year-on-year to ₱43.8 billion for the first half of the year, a ₱2.7-billion increase from the same period last year.
Data/broadband represented 79% of Consumer Wireless revenues in the first half of 2021. Total mobile data traffic for the period was at 1,579 petabytes, a 17% increase compared to the first half of 2020. The monthly average mobile data traffic for the second quarter was 267 petabytes, 11% higher than the full year 2020 average.
"Despite the hyper-competition, and this pandemic limiting mobility for our wireless customers who have shifted to working and studying at home, our e-load top-ups remain strong at 13% growth versus last year," said PLDT Inc and Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio. "In the second half, we will unleash data products enabling relevant and impactful campaigns that embolden our customer’s passions and purpose."
New data offers
To further drive data usage on the network, Smart has recently launched new offers for its subscribers, such as the newly unveiled UNLI GIGA promos, which allow subscribers to choose between UNLI GIGA Stories (with unlimited Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and Kumu) or UNLI GIGA Video (with non-stop YouTube, iWantTFC, NBA League Pass, and Cignal Play). The promo, which comes with 2 GB data for all other sites and apps for seven days for only ₱149, is exclusively available on the GigaLife App, the one-stop app that enables subscribers to simply and seamlessly pursue their passions and purpose.
Smart also recently launched its new Smart Bro Rocket SIM, which is compatible with any SIM-enabled device and comes with 30 days of Unli Data for an introductory price offer of ₱499, catering to the rising demand for more data and superfast connectivity as customers stay home amid new lockdown restrictions. After the 30-day period, subscribers with Smart Bro Rocket SIMS can also avail themselves of other data offers via the GigaLife App.
The 'heart' of the Consumer Wireless segment's growth, the GigaLife App was recently enhanced with GigaPay with PayMaya. The recent innovative enhancement enables GigaLife App users to conveniently top-up, buy data and access other exclusive data promos through GigaPay by linking their PayMaya wallet as payment source for all in-app transactions. In its initial phase, GigaPay also allows linking of subscriber’s credit and debit cards, making it even more convenient for Smart subscribers to transact without leaving the app.
As of end-June 2021, Smart had increased the number of its base stations to over 68,500, an increase of 16%, compared with end-2020. This includes more than 4,500 LTE base stations deployed in the first half of the year alone.
For continued efforts to expand and improve its mobile network, Smart was once again cited by third-party analytics firm Ookla® as the country's fastest mobile network in the Philippines for the fourth consecutive year, based on analysis by Ookla of tests taken with Speedtest® covering the first half of 2021, reaffirming its dominance.
Ookla’s latest report also cited Smart as the country's fastest 5G network in the Philippines for the first half of 2021.
According to a recent evaluation by Ookla, users of Samsung and Apple devices in the Philippines can also expect their devices to perform at their fastest on the Smart 5G network, based on Ookla’s analysis of Speedtest Intelligence® data for Q2 2021.
To date, Smart's 5G network has been fired up in more than 4,000 sites nationwide making it the country's first, fastest, and widest 5G network.