Smart postpaid grows 24 percent in first quarter

Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) grew its postpaid subscriber base by 24% in the first quarter of 2013 versus the same period last year, leading the industry in this hotly-contested segment of the cellular market.

To help sustain its strong start this year, Smart is launching a new set of postpaid offers called Flexibundles, which aims to give postpaid subscribers better control of their usage through a simple process.

“These Flexibundles give Smart Postpaid subscribers greater control over their plans, enabling them to design their plans to suit their specific needs.  And they can do this in a way that is easy to understand and simple to use,” said Orlando B. Vea, co-founder and Chief Wireless Advisor of Smart.

Flexibundles include unlimited call and SMS combos, tri-net or all-net buckets, and volume-based data plans, and Smart Postpaid subscribers simply need to register to these buckets via SMS to avail. These buckets are available to users of all Smart All-In plans, Unlimited Data Plans, iPhone Plans, Unli Postpaid, Plan 349, Freedom Plan, and the Family Circle Plans.

“We are keen to keep growing our postpaid business because this is how we can help unlock the potential of mobile data and make it more relevant and more beneficial to our subscribers,” Vea added.

Smart added almost 84,000 new postpaid users in the first quarter of 2013, up 24% from the same period last year. The telco leader’s postpaid base also grew 12% from the last quarter of 2012, likewise ahead of the competition.

This brought the number of Smart Postpaid subscribers to almost 0.8 million, and helped push the total PLDT mobile postpaid base to 2.1 million (including Sun Cellular postpaid subscribers) – or 53% of the total postpaid market.

PLDT also reported a year-on-year increase of 12% in its postpaid revenues from Smart and Sun, helping keep its consolidated wireless service revenues at PhP28.5 billion.

A superior network and a range of innovative plans bundled with powerful, mobile Internet devices, were cited by Vea as the main drivers of the growth of Smart’s postpaid service, predominantly attracting switchers and first-time postpaid users.

“Smart subscribers enjoy a clearly superior network that competition simply cannot match. And it’s the switchers themselves who are particularly vocal about the improvement in their experience after having moved,” Vea said.

Vea cited the results of the Quality of Service (QoS) benchmark tests conducted across all telcos by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) for the first quarter of 2013.

In the NTC tests, Smart posted significantly better results than its competition, especially in the number of Blocked and Dropped calls. The telco leader also outperformed its competition in other key indicators like Average Receive Signal Level, Average Signal Quality, and Call Set-up Time.

“This is especially noteworthy, considering that the Smart network serves a larger subscriber base – yet we consistently outperform the competition in these quarterly network tests,” Vea added.

Vea also attributes the growth of Smart’s postpaid business in the first quarter of 2013 to the introduction of attractive plans that come bundled with ‘superphones’ — or smartphones that offer the most advanced features like LTE capability, high-powered processors and HD screens.

Smart offered to postpaid subscribers several of the world’s most hotly anticipated handsets within the period, such as iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy Note 2, Sony Xperia V, Huawei Ascend D1, and ZTE T82, ramping up its acquisition strategy and introducing high-speed mobile Internet browsing to more and more users.

The aggressive acquisition via handset bundling has increased mobile Internet revenues by 42% year-on-year to Php 1 billion in the first quarter of 2013.

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