Smart Communications, Inc. expects a surge in smartphone usage in the Philippines this 2012 given the growth momentum established late last year.
Android powerhouse, Samsung Galaxy Note
According to Mr. Orlando B. Vea, Smart's Chief Wireless Advisor, the company has seen a doubling of the number of subscribers using smartphones in the last four months of 2011 due to increased availability of devices and the growing demand for mobile Internet.
"Our subscribers have responded very well to our attractive and innovative smartphone offers campaigns, particularly in the second half of the year. At the same time, our network modernization program which is far ahead of the competition, is already delivering a superior mobile internet experience to our subscribers today," shared Mr. Vea.
From August to December 2011, Smart noted a steep rise in the use of the top three smartphone operating systems in its network.
Google's mobile OS, Android, tallied the highest increase with a 300% spike, followed by BlackBerry OS with 66%, and Apple's iOS with 62%. The figures were culled from a series of one-day snapshots of Smart's network taken every month.
"The growth of iOS is significant given that Smart started offering iPhones only last December 2011," Mr. Vea noted.
In mid-2011, Smart launched Netphone 701, followed by the introduction of Samsung Galaxy Y Netphone edition running Android and the SmartNet suite of applications.
SmartNet services allow subscribers to check their balance in real time, chat with other Netphone users, update Facebook and Twitter status and add contacts from the cloud. Sales of the Netphone, particularly the Samsung Galaxy Y Netphone edition, have been robust since the already ultra-affordable handsets were marketed as bundled with attractive data and voice plans. This plan combo has been doing particularly well in Smart's "first time smartphone user" market segment.
In December 2011, Smart further diversified its smartphone portfolio by offering the popular Apple iPhone 4S. Going by the slogan "Everyone deserves an iPhone", Smart offers iPhone starting at Plan 999 — the most affordable iPhone plan in the Philippines.
Also included in Smart's current roster of Android smartphones is the 5-inch Samsung Galaxy Note "phablet" (phone + tablet) - shown above - which is free at Unlimited Data Plan 2000.
Smart Communications started 2012 by bolstering its Android lineup with the first smartphone running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwic, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus. Like Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus is available for free, exclusively from Smart, at Unlimited Data Plan 2000.
"We are encouraged with the results: On one hand, it shows that demand for Internet-capable phones has risen and on the other, that Filipinos want to get the most out of their devices by going with Smart. Filipinos have taken notice of our improved network and the numbers prove it," shared Mr. Vea.