Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is helping spur the rapid growth of mobile Internet use in the country, with a special set of easy-to-use social networking services.
Called SmartNet, the home-grown service works across smartphones, tablets and other Web-enabled devices, allowing users to chat, search and add contacts from the cloud, check their Facebook and Twitter social stream without switching applications, post online updates, and much more, for free.
According to Smart head for Broadband Internet and Data Services Gio Bacareza: “We have observed that 70% of smartphones with SmartNet use their phones to access the Internet, compared to the 10% industry-wide average observed among smartphone users.”
Banking on this momentum and on the recently reported 300% surge in the number of Android users in its network, Smart has also made the latest SmartNet version downloadable for free from the Android Market – enabling other Android users in the Smart network to download and enjoy its suite of services.
No bill shock
Created specifically for emerging markets, SmartNet touts the ‘Safe Browse’ feature, which keeps other applications outside SmartNet from accessing the Web in the background – taking away the risk of bill shock, or incurring unexpected data charges.
Brisk sales of the SmartNet-powered Samsung Galaxy Y Netphone Edition also set off a surge in the number of smartphones in the Smart network.
“These spikes reflect how SmartNet has made it a breeze for subscribers to use mobile Internet, especially among first-time smartphone users, by making the service a delightful, extremely relevant, and hassle- and worry-free experience,” Bacareza added.
SmartNet for Android
Initially only available as a pre-installed app on the Netphone 701 and the Samsung Galaxy Y handsets, the latest SmartNet version – available for free download from the Android Market — sports a fresh new look, more intuitive widgets, free app updates, and snappier chat functionality.
With over 700,000 Android devices — from smartphones to tablets to ‘phablets’ or the hybrid smartphone-tablets — activated globally every day, SmartNet’s support for other Android devices allows more and more subscribers to maximize and use their smartphones as they have been designed — to enjoy anytime, anywhere Internet and not just as expensive phones for calling and texting.
SmartNet for everyone
The telco, which now has over 47.7 million subscribers, is banking on the appeal of SmartNet among Filipino users – who are highly social but budget-conscious — to help strengthen its core business.
“SmartNet is a key component of our goal to enable all Smart subscribers to have access to the Internet through their phones — because every Filipino, for that matter, should have access to the Internet,” added Bacareza.
“Soon, even non-Smart subscribers will be able to enjoy SmartNet and benefit from its features. It will allow more people to connect with the biggest community of mobile users in the Philippines. Even overseas Filipinos will soon be able to enjoy SmartNet,” said Bacareza.
SmartNet is also set to be deployed to work on iOS devices, as well as feature phones.
A great mobile experience with SmartNet
Like any other service, SmartNet is best experienced on a great network. Smart and its parent firm PLDT’s all-Internet Protocol (IP), next-generation network (NGN) is suited for rapid deployment of new widgets, apps, and services over the air to every device running SmartNet, at no cost to the subscriber — continuously enhancing SmartNet’s value and relevance to its users.
The connectivity powering this network is also deployed by Smart across the country using the most advanced technologies – a unique and superior matrix of 3G, HSPA+, WiMAX, and LTE.
“We have built the most advanced network in the country. That translates to a superior mobile Internet experience to our subscribers, and this is especially so for SmartNet users,” added Bacareza.
Bacareza refers to the P67.1 billion peso network transformation program currently being undertaken by Smart and PLDT. The original 3-year program, launched in early 2011, has been fast-tracked and is scheduled for completion by the middle of this year.