Mobile Web use to rise as phone prices drop

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10:54 PM May 22nd, 2012

By: Paolo G. Montecillo, May 22nd, 2012 10:54 PM

A rise in mobile Internet usage in the Philippines is seen by Smart Communications this year as more feature-packed smartphones approach the “sweet spot” price level of $100 each. AP PHOTO/MAHESH KUMAR A

The country’s largest mobile phone network Smart Communications expects a rise in mobile Internet usage this year as more feature-packed smartphones approach the “sweet spot” price level of $100 each.

Smart’s parent firm, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), said its broadband and Internet revenues rose 34 percent to P5.8 billion, now amounting to 14 percent of consolidated service earnings.

The parent firm said its fixed-line Internet business generated P2.6 billion, up by 15 percent compared witho the same period last year.

Subsidiaries Smart and Digital Telecommunications Philippines (Digitel) generated P1.7 billion and P800 million in revenues, respectively, for the first quarter.

The PLDT group now controls 65 percent of the local broadband Internet industry.

“We continue to expand our broadband offerings, be it handset-driven or usage-based. Prices of smartphones are fast approaching the ‘sweet spot’ of $100, or around P4,200, which is when we expect mobile phones to become the Internet access point of choice for Filipinos,” Smart chief wireless advisor Orlando Vea said.

Smart said it would expand its menu of products that provide “upselling opportunities,” including the introduction of variants differentiated by speed and price points such as the fiber-to-the-home and the SmartBro dongle offers, and bundles that optimize fixed and wireless service delivery platforms with content.

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