Several days back, Smart Communications' PR team gave TechPinas the opportunity to ask the company's resource persons in its internet and data services department the questions that we've always wanted to ask.
Here's the transcript of the interview:
1. Right now, LTE access is limited to a few spots in NCR. When can subscribers expect to get nationwide LTE coverage from Smart? Will that happen this year? If not yet, where will new LTE zones be set up?
As we’ve disclosed recently, we will make Smart’s entire mobile phone network “LTE and HSPA+” ready by the middle of this year. That means, Smart cell sites and supporting infrastructure will by then have been fitted with new facilities and equipment that can be readily upgraded to offer either LTE and/or HSPA+ services depending on the demands of the market. That will put us in a position to roll out 4G services within the year. We are studying just when and how to do this.
2. Can you give a ballpark figure on how much Smart LTE plans will cost?
It’s difficult to give you even a ball park figure at this time.
3. One of the questions I often receive from my readers is regarding Smart prepaid daily internet-on-the-go promos e.g. Always On, etc. They want a 10 pesos/day promo. Also, they are asking if its possible to get Always On for one hour with unlimited data. Are these possible?
We have three approaches for data charging that subscribers can choose from, depending on their budget and usage preferences or needs. One is time-based, the second is volume-based, and the third is website-specific. All of these charging schemes abide by the general fair usage policy.
We have several time-based offers: P50 for one day; P100 for two days and P200 for five days. All these offer unlimited access.
Our volume-based offers range from P20 per day with a volume limit of 25 MB, up to P995 for 30 days with a volume limit of 2GB.
We offer website specific packages such as P20 for Facebook all day, or Twitter all day. We also have a P10 per day offer for users of the Java app Facebook for All designed for users of feature phones.
We feel these offers provide our subscribers a wide of range of choices that address their needs.
4. One of the rumored features of the soon to be announced Apple iPad3 is LTE connectivity support. If it's true, will Smart consider bundling iPad3 for free with future LTE plans?
It is hard for us to comment on these speculative reports. What we can say is that we make it a point to offer the best device-service packages.
5. Regarding the Smart-SUN merger, what new services and bundles can users expect from it exactly? A lot of Sun subscribers are afraid the merger might affect all those ultra-low-cost, even free promos they get from Sun.
We can assure Sun subscribers that we will maintain and further improve the service packages that Sun Cellular currently offers. We have already introduced for example our Smart Sun Dual Postpaid Plan for P549 and our Trio20 prepaid offer that provides Sun, Smart and Talk n Text subscribers 15 minutes of calls and 200 text messages to each other, for only P20 per day. Watch for more in the future.
TP Friends, I promise you, I did my best to ask Smart about Apple iPad 3 -- as I really believe Smart will be an official carrier of the 3rd generation tablet in the Philippines. But I guess when it comes to Apple and its products, partner companies must emply extra-care not to disclose information until after the Cupertino company has made an official announcement. So far, Apple hasn't even revealed how iPad3 actually looks like nor has it confirmed that its next slate will indeed be called iPad3.