PLDT remains upbeat on prepaid segment

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Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) continues to be upbeat about growing its prepaid mobile subscriber base, citing market segmentation as the key growth driver.

“As these strong numbers show, the prepaid category remains encouraging. We will continue slicing and dicing the market and offer services that are tailor-fit to the different segments served by Smart, Talk ‘N Text nd Sun,” said Orlando Vea, co-founder and chief wireless advisor of Smart Communications Inc.

The telecom giant reported net adds of 2 million new prepaid users to its wireless brands Smart, Talk ‘N Text and Sun Cellular, in just the first three months of 2013, or close to 170,000 new subscribers per week.

Compared to the same period last year, PLDT added approximately 6.5 million new subscribers, pushing its total mobile prepaid base close to 70 million—or 68 percent of the
total prepaid market.


The carrier also reported leading the wireless category in terms of service revenues, earning total wireless revenues of P28.5 billion for the quarter—with the lion’s share coming from its prepaid services.

Biggest gainer
The biggest gainer for the quarter is mass-market brand Talk ‘N Text, which grew its subscriber base by 7 percent from the previous quarter and 38 percent versus the same period last year—setting the pace for the rest of the prepaid category.

The sharp rise brought the total Talk ‘N Text subscriber base to 30.6 million, increasing the brand’s market share to 30 percent.

“The growth of Talk ‘N Text is coming from increasing penetration across all regions, and exceptionally strong usage of various Talk ‘N Text voice and SMS [short messaging services]bucket offers that are higher in denomination and longer in duration,” said Jane Basas, head of Prepaid Marketing at Smart.

Talk ‘N Text was also aggressive in rewarding subscriber loyalty, treating users to basketball games, concerts, and the like—defying the convention that value brands are supposed to offer bare-bones service.

“We intend to keep Talk ‘N Text sharply designed to suit the needs of the mass market even as the industry evolves, in the same manner that we are shaping the relevance of Smart Prepaid and Sun Cellular to their respective markets,” Vea said.

Smart, Talk ‘N Text and Sun are also synergizing both sales and customer service resources for greater distribution, and expanding network footprint all the way to the most remote corners of the country.

Rosalie C. Periabras

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