PHL mobile penetration to hit 100 percent in 2012, telco claims
This year, the Philippines' mobile phone penetration rate is expected to reach 100 percent –and beyond, according to local telco Smart Communications Inc., as mobile data consumption continues to grow.
According to Smart executives, subscribers to the network grew by 71 percent in the first quarter of 2012 over the same period the previous year. This was attributed to the increased demand for smartphone handsets.
In comparison, Singapore has the world's highest smartphone penetration rate at 54.32 percent or 4.4 million people as of 2011. The country is followed by Canada at 39 percent, and the USA, Hong Kong, Spain, and Sweden tied in third place at 35 percent.
However, in the Philippines, smartphones still only account for just 29.4 percent of the local market. So-called "feature phones" hold the greater market share, at 70.6 percent.
“The high-end handsets tend to get the most visibility, but the huge growth is in the mid- to low-end devices” in the local market, according to Smart Communications' Wireless Consumer Division head, Emmanuel Lorenzana.
Medium- and low-end handsets are crucual to further expanding mobile data consumption among Filipinos, he pointed out.
A large portion of local users consume the mobile Internet “in small snacks,” Lorenzana said. “People check their Facebook or Twitter. They look up what movies are showing in which theater and what the traffic is like on EDSA. They access the Internet in many tiny bites,” he elaborated.
Smart has been encouraging this consumption behavior via its SmartNet web-based platform, which allows users to chat with other people on the network and to update their personal social networking accounts, among other things.
In the 10 months since SmartNet was launched, it has gained some 320,000 users at an average rate of over 20,000 users per week.
Smart has also been promoting various mobile Internet service packages to fit peoples' “web-snacking mobile lifestyle,” Lorenzana said.
Smart claims a subscriber base of 50.1 million mobile users and 1.6 million broadband users as of end-March 2012. — TJD, GMA News
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