Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), wireless arm of the country's largest integrated telco PLDT, is forging on with its 5G push on the back of major campaigns headlined by global superstars Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin.
The stars of highly acclaimed drama "Crash Landing On You" top-billed Smart's much-anticipated Valentine's Day TV commercial, which put the spotlight on Smart's 5G network.
The TVC is the latest in a trilogy of commercials, which began in June last year with the 'Simple Smart Ako' campaign featuring Hyun Bin, and was followed by the 'Make Your Mark' campaign for Smart Signature with Son Ye Jin in August.
"Last year, we launched two of our biggest campaigns ever: First, our ‘Simple Smart Ako’ campaign, which reignited our commitment as an organization to make it simple and easy for every Filipino to access and enjoy life-changing technology right at their fingertips. And second, our ‘Make Your Mark’ campaign for Smart Signature, which reinforced our role in the lives of our customers as enablers in the pursuit of their goals and dreams," said Jane J. Basas, Head of Consumer Wireless Business Smart
"Through these 2020 campaigns, we were able to bring closer to our customers both Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin," Basas said, adding that eventually, Smart heeded the clamor for the company to produce a joint material featuring the Asian Sweethearts, with fans rallying behind the hashtag #InSmartWeTrust.
"Trust is not easily earned, so we value it so much. We knew that this has turned into something bigger and the trust of our customers propelled us to fulfill their wish," Basas added, who admitted that only Hyun Bin was in the original plans of Smart.
"We launched Hyun Bin as the face of our fastest LTE network, as well as the launch of the Smart 5G network. So that was the plan. But we listened to our customers, who clamored for Son Ye Jin. In the end, we had to give the customers what they want," she said.
"This is our love letter to our customers--our way of showing how much we love them. The hard work that went into this campaign is representative of the hard work we put into providing them with the best mobile services and the best data network. That's just in our DNA--making the impossible happen," Basas said.
5G is 'inevitable'
The campaign also features homegrown multi-awarded folkpop band Ben&Ben, who wrote and performed original song "Inevitable" specifically for the TVC. "This is our way of championing local talent and giving them a platform," Basas explained, linking the song to Smart's 5G thrust as well. "Smart 5G is inevitable, and this is why we are leading the charge to bring this latest technology to Filipinos."
For Paolo Guico and his bandmates at Ben&Ben, the connection between the band and the company was "serendipitous".
"The chemistry was natural between Smart and us. It's serendipitous. What Smart wants to achieve with this campaign is very much aligned with what we want to pull off as a band," he said. "It's like we just flowed in the same direction."
Fastest network in PH gets faster with 5G
Lloyd Manaloto, head of Corporate Marketing and Strategy at Smart, said the company's continuous network improvement initiatives have been paying off, as Smart remains to be the Philippines' fastest mobile data network, as recognized by leading third-party analytics firms Ookla and Opensignal.
"We were the first to make 5G commercially available to Filipinos, the first to make 5G available nationwide, and the first to deliver this right at the fingertips of more Filipinos because we’re the first to launch special 5G Plans. Today, we remain the fastest and nationwidest. But it’s not just about “being first.” Ultimately, it’s all about being the fastest. And the fastest will get even faster with 5G," he added.
Smart 5G is seen to deliver next-level upload and download speeds and lower latency, enabling users to stream high-resolution videos, play online mobile games, and benefit from the latest apps and 5G-enabled services on their mobile devices with fiber-like speeds.
"All this is in line with our commitment to simply deliver world-class digital services at the fingertips of our customers," Manaloto said.
Signature 5G plans
To enable their customers to maximize the 5G network, Smart has also rolled out specially designed Smart Signature 5G plans, which offer two times more data and come with a Data Rollover feature, which means all unused data allocation from the previous month will be carried over to the following month. In addition, all Signature Plans now include Unlimited Calls and Texts to All Networks.
"We’re also constantly partnering with the world’s top device manufacturers like Huawei, Samsung, Realme, Vivo, Oppo and of course Apple to give you the latest 5G handsets," said Shing Dimagiba, Smart Postpaid Marketing Head, noting that the number of Smart's 5G subscribers are increasing, owing to the introduction of compelling 5G devices.
At the forefront of 5G in PH
With these developments, Smart remains at the forefront of the 5G revolution in the Philippines with the continued nationwide roll-out of its ultrafast 5G network, which also includes strategic sites in Metro Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Iloilo, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Davao. Smart has been conducting tests with 5G starting in 2016.
These initiatives form a large part of PLDT's sustained network investments, which totaled some Php286.3 billion from 2016 to 2020. To meet the requirements of their mobile and fixed line subscribers, PLDT and Smart are prepared to invest between Php 88 billion and Php 92 billion in capital expenditures in 2021.
Supporting Smart's 5G network is PLDT's fiber infrastructure, which is the most extensive in the country, is at more than 429,000 kilometers as of December.
Smart's networks currently cover 96% of the population and are present in 95% of cities and municipalities. As of December, Smart has also increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000.