Smart, Sun, Talk N Text Offers Free Mobile Internet, Surprises Globe

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. or PLDT Group announced that its more than 66 million pre-paid subscribers of wireless brands Smart Communications Inc., Sun Cellular and Talk ‘N Text will have free access to mobile Internet for the next two months.

To avail of the free mobile internet offer, Smart, Talk N Text and Sun Cellular subscribers must have an available airtime balance of at least one peso, or is subscribed to any load bucket or promo.

The announcement is meant to win pre-paid subscribers from rival Globe Telecom, which will likely be forced to also announce its own free Internet, lest it will be left behind.

“We are launching this initiative to provide a much larger number of Filipinos the opportunity to try out and experience the Internet, enjoy its benefits," said PLDT chairman Manuel Pangilinan.

PLDT said subscribers could access the Internet either through data-capable feature phones or smartphones running on Android, iOS and Windows operating systems.  

Smart said under the promo, it would provide prepaid subscribers with free mobile Internet starting Sept. 26 until Nov. 30 with up to 30 megabits of data per day. Talk ‘N Text and Sun Cellular active subscribers can also enjoy the same privilege, it said.

PLDT president and chief executive Napoleon Nazareno said the company had the ability to provide the free Internet service, despite the additional 15 million smartphone holders going online simultaneously.  

"We have the capacity to handle the traffic," he said. 

Nazareno said the company anticipated losses from the free mobile Internet but this would be offset by the surge of subscribers because of the promo.
"The surge of new subscribers that we will get will offset whatever losses we will incur," he said. 

The PLDT group said through the special offer, non-mobile Internet subscribers could use their data-enabled mobile phones to browse through and post on their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, visit their favorites websites, search on Google and Wikipedia, use navigation tools like Waze and Google Maps, book a cab or limo service via Easy Taxi and Uber, or use traffic info sites.

“They can also send and receive emails, read their favorite blogs or update their own blogs, listen to songs via Smart’s Spinnr music service, shop via online stores like Zalora, Lazada, book their travel details through sites like Skyscanner and Expedia, among other things – all without incurring data charges,” PLDT said.

PLDT, however, said data charges would apply to peer-to-peer uploads and downloads, videos, voice over Internet protocol and messaging.

“This special offer is specifically designed to assist our prepaid subscribers who make up the bulk of our population.  Many of them already have the mobile devices capable of accessing the Internet but have yet to use them to go online.  In this way, Smart can effectively promote digital inclusion and spread the benefits of the Internet in the fastest and most effective way possible,” Pangilinan said.

About 90 percent of mobile phone holders are prepaid subscribers in the Philippines.

Smart recently reported a 73-percent  hike in mobile data traffic, as smartphone prices continued to fall and innovative services like SmartNet and PisoNet allowed more Filipinos to gain access to the Internet via their mobile phones.

PLDT said it has rolled out about 90,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables all over the country which provides the transmission facilities needed to support Internet services.  

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