IN the past week, the Philippines has yet again experienced another catastrophe. From the 18th of August until the 22nd, a typhoon set foot in the country. It started as a Habagat
(monsoon) which eventually turned into a tropical storm after a few days. What’s worse was that a Low Pressure Area (LPA) intensified the said typhoon causing heavier rainfalls throughout Luzon, especially in NCR and the Region IV-A.
In spite of this event, acts of charity sprouted from every part of the country. This was somehow a response to a similar event that happened last year – when a Habagat
unexpectedly devastated the country. Different government agencies, NGOs, educational institutions and even student organizations initiated several relief operations. These institutions were able to replicate last year’s efforts by calling out for donations and distributing them to affected areas and evacuation centers.
On the other hand, assistance was not only shown through relief goods but also with the free services provided by numerous private companies. Smart Communications, Inc., the leading mobile telecommunications company, initiated “Libreng Tawag
” (Free Call) stations in many evacuation centers. These stations gave free access to evacuees to call their families and guarantee their safety.
“Network preparedness is critical before, during and after disaster and emergency situations. Learning from past experiences, we have worked toward making our entire network and organization ready. And because of these preparations, our network was fully operational with only minimal disruptions.” said Ramon Isberto, Smart Public Affairs Group head.
There was a total of 25 stations in 17 cities and municipalities which were greatly affected.
Smart’s engineers also equipped their cell sites with high powered generators for long lasting service, in case of possible power shortage. They also ensured those areas which are usually outside the coverage that they can still use the coverage despite the weather.
Furthermore, Smart Comm. also had some relief efforts wherein they distributed goods to some affected areas. They also provided faster access to SMS and financial services the telecommunication company gives.
Through these actions, Smart was able to ensure that anyone may contact their loved ones in the middle of the calamity. People who are also stranded in the middle of the typhoon, especially the flooded communities, may easily ask for assistance. With this, it can really be proven that assistance during calamities is not limited with providing goods such as food and clothing.
News courtesy: http://www.philstar.com/telecoms/2013/08/24/1126431/smart-deploys-record-number-libreng-tawag-stations
Photo courtesy: http://www.rappler.com/bulletin-board/36957-smart-libreng-tawag-relief-operations-maring
Galeon, Francis Jake
Undoubtedly, Fourth Generation Long Term Evolution (4G LTE, or LTE for short) is now the big thing in the realm of wireless high speed mobile internet. The LTE technology further heats up the competition between the two biggest telecommunications company in the Philippines, namely PLDT’s Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom. The two companies introduced LTE to Philippines, and both of them are claiming to be the pioneers of the said technology in the country. Nonetheless, the real issue is not about being the first to introduce such a technology, but the manner in which this new service is being carried out in order to reach its customers.
Both networks are currently expanding their LTE coverage. Recently, Smart Communications has expanded its services not only within Metro Manila, but also in the province of Rizal and in selected parts of northern Luzon, southern Luzon, Visayas and even in Mindanao. All in all, Smart has covered 170 locations, including cities and municipalities. Smart’s LTE service promises to provide broadband speed of up to 42 megabytes per second. On the other hand, Globe Telecom was seen expanding its LTE coverage in roaming services along with South Korea’s SK Telecom. This was made possible through Globe’s partnership with American firm Aicent Inc..Image taken from http://www.digitaltrends.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/ATT-4G-LTE.pngGlobe Telecom and Smart Communications are showing competitiveness in terms of providing LTE services for the Filipino customers. LTE is currently available for prepaid and post-paid plans. Prepaid products and services include an LTE sim, an LTE plug-it (similar to Smart Bro), and a pocket wifi. Meanwhile, post-paid products and services include plans which come along with the customer’s choice of smartphones that are LTE enabled.
In July 2013, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has conducted a service test for both companies. Based on the results of the test, Smart has “outsmarted” Globe in terms of providing seamless mobile wireless services, not only in broadband/data, but also in voice and text services. However, Globe refutes the findings of the NTC, saying that the results are needed to be reevaluated and that the testing process should entail more transparency for both parties concerned.
The stage for the battle of the giant telecommunications company is set ablaze by the entry of the LTE in the realm of mobile wireless telecommunications, as it immediately became a part of the mainstream high speed mobile internet technology.
__________________________  Telegeography, “PLDT’s Smart extends LTE coverage to 170 cities, municipalities,” http://www.telegeography.com/products/commsupdate/articles/2013/07/22/pldts-smart-extends-lte-coverage-to-170-cities-municipalities/index.html (Retrieved: July 25, 2013).
 Philippine Daily Inquirer, “Globe Telecom signs deal with US firm,” http://business.inquirer.net/129861/globe-telecom-signs-deal-with-us-firm (Retrieved: July 25, 2013).
 Camus, Miguel R.”Philippine Daily Inquirer: Smart edges out Globe in service tests,” http://technology.inquirer.net/27239/smart-edges-out-globe-in-service-tests (Retrieved: July 25, 2013).Telecommunications Industry Group
Article by Cliff Harvey C. Venzon1
This past year, the Philippine telecommunications industry has shown an excellent performance. In addition to that, competition is continually growing, especially among the largest telecommunication companies, PLDT-Smart and Globe telecom.
So far, the existing rivalry between the two major telecoms has further amplified as both are aiming to expand their borders. The Ayala’s Globe telecom started to improve on their services by installing Long Term Evolution (LTE) through partnerships with various companies such as the US’ Aicent2. On the other hand, Manny Pangilinan’s PLDT-Smart is continuously expanding its coverage for its 67 million subscribers (68% of the total mobile subscribers in the Philippines)3. With the growing market by Sun and Smart, both subsidiaries of the PLDT-Smart, Globe telecom is pressured to intensify its method of improving their services inside or even outside of the country.
Last May 29, Globe telecom’s board of directors approved in selling bonds worth PhP7 billion. Bonds will be sold into two separate periods: 7-year and 10-year bonds. Majority of the funds accumulated from the bonds sold will be allotted for Globe’s capital expenditures (CAPEX) which includes the network and IT initiatives and investments to other facilities4.
Other than this, the Globe telecom is also aiming for the complete rehabilitation of the Lopez group’s Bayan telecommunication, a minor competitor5. Presently, Globe owns 96.5% of the total indebtedness of Bayan. After selling the bonds, they plan to own the 100% of it then converting it as Bayan’s equity. Furthermore, this can be seen as a positive response to the growing partnership between the Lopez’s and the Ayala’s as former’s ABS-CBN also signed a telecommunication deal with Globe telecom recently6.
All in all, expansion is manifested not only through increasing one’s assets but also by forging relationships with others. The thriving partnership between these two successful companies would certainly become a threat to PLDT-Smart’s constant growth. As ABS-CBN enters the telecommunication industry, the division of the market will increase.
1 Venzon, Cliff Harvey C. “Globe gets SEC approval” BusinessWorld Online, July 4, 2013, accessed July 7, 2013, http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Corporate&title=Globe-gets-SEC-approval-to-issuebonds&id=72905
2 Abadilla, Emmie V. “Globe strengthens LTE roaming links.” Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, July 2, 2013, accessed July 10, 2013, http://mb.com.ph/Business/Corporate/20214/Globe_strengthens_LTE_roaming_links
3 Montecillo, Paolo G. “PLDT says user base rose to 69M in end-2012.” Philippine Daily Inquirer, April 5, 2013, accessed July 11, 2013, http://business.inquirer.net/115529/pldt-says-user-base-rose-to-69m-in-end-2012
4 Agcaoili, Lawrence, “Globe to raise add’l $120M for capex.” The Philippine Star, April 17, 2013, accessed July 10, 2013, http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/04/17/931423/globe-raise-addl-120m-capex
5 Amojelar, Darwin G. “Globe sets P7-billion debt sale to finance Bayan takeover” InterAksyon.com, June 19, 2013, accessed June 30, 2013, http://www.interaksyon.com/business/64418/globe-sets-p7-billion-debt-sale-to-financebayan-takeover
6 Agcaoili, Lawrence, “NTC okays Globe-ABS-CBN network agreement” The Philippine Star, June 8, 2013 http://www.philstar.com/business/2013/06/08/951358/ntc-okays-globe-abs-cbn-network-sharing-agreement
Galeon, Francis Jake