Monday, March 21, 2011

Is Globe Telecom now the preferred service provider in the Philippines?

TipidCP has an ongoing poll, which, with 2128 respondents is nearly complete. The last time a poll was opened, 2603 members case their votes. The question this time is which is the "network that you prefer". Globe Telecom tops the list by a wide margin.

Smart Communications is the countries leading telecom companies in terms of the number of subscribers, with Smarts 44 million subscribers being more than the combined total of Globe Telecom and Sun Cellular. One in two mobile phones lines in the Philippines is a Smart line. However, in terms of postpaid subscribers Smart Communications lags behind both Globe and Sun, having less than 500,000 postpaid subscribers, which is less than 1 in 5 postpaid subscribers in the country. And it seems with the "A" and "B" markets, Smart Communications does not do so well. The TipidCP poll seems to confirm this problem.

The TipidCP demographic is made up of techie mobile phone users. It is not made up of your typical mobile phone subscriber, but someone who has a passion for mobile devices and is willing to spend on devices and services. While in the market, 1 in 2 subscribers would select a Smart line, with the other half selecting either a Globe or Sun line, TipidPC users, many of whom have 2 or 3 lines, express a preference for Globe Telecoms.

As you can see, it is no small majority. Fifty-seven (57%) percent of TipidCP members who voted expressed a preference for Globe Telecoms. Sun Cellular came in a far second, with 21%. Only 18% expressed a preference for Smart Communications.

But it does seem that Smart Communications is a bit out of touch. It's unlimited call and text packages are still listed as promotions that can be halted any time. Smart's unlimited data packages are also listed a "promo" packages. It seem that the communications giant cannot decide where to go. 

While it was initially the stand of Smart Communications and Globe Telecom that Sun's Cellulars Php350 monthly unlimited within network call and text plan would force the company into bankruptcy, this was not the case. Sun Cellular is alive and well eight years later, with 16 million subscribers and with the most number of postpaid subscribers. Smart Communications seems to still believe that this model won't work and has not committed to it, and offers competing packages as time limited promotions (that it continuously renews). 

At the same time, on the cutting edge of 3G technology, Smart Communications line-up of phones is still made up primarily of Symbian devices, with a sampling of Android's and BlackBerry's and is focused is on offering internet on the mobile phone in bite sized packages with either their time limited plans or through "Value Added Services". Smarts MENSA Data Packages still being listed as "promos".

Globe Telecom, which seemed to have been on the slide two or three years ago is clearly back. Whether it is because of of smart packaging comprised of traditional consumable and unlimited plans which meet Sun Cellular's challenge head on; or maintaining its position as the most "elite" service provider by being the exclusive providers of Apple's iPhone while having the widest line-up of Android and BlackBerry phones in the market, back-ed up by data service packages that can be appended to any of its plans and proprietary apps created through it GlobeLab's unit; or because of smart niche marketing like signing up cosplay model Alodia Gosiengfiao, I do not know. The end result is the same. Globe Telecom is the preferred service provider in the country. As a satisfied Smart Communications subscriber for many years, I do not have enough reason to move. If I was first time postpaid subscriber, I imagine I would go with Globe.

In the past year, Globe Telecom has remodeled its packages to halt the rapid gains made by Sun Cellular, and to renew its battle for the top spot against market leader Smart Communications. 

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