SMART Communications Inc. (Smart), through its value brand Talk ‘N Text, has introduced a new application that will allow Filipinos to enjoy free access to a buffet of 24 websites featuring informative and practical content, including basic Facebook and Messenger, on their mobile phones.
Smart said it has partnered with Facebook to introduce the Internet.org app, which will be offered free of data charges in its initial phase.
Charles A. Lim, vice president and wireless consumer division head of Smart and Sun, emphasized the benefits of having access to useful information and services provided by the app.
“Smart’s partnership with Facebook is a big boost to our ‘Internet for All’ campaign, an advocacy we have been strongly pushing for,” Smart president and chief executive officer Napoleon L. Nazareno said.
“By launching Internet.org app with Facebook in the Philippines, we are making useful information within reach of millions of Filipinos,” he added.
Internet.org is an app that Facebook has rolled out in six countries, including Columbia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Zambia, enabling people to browse useful information and websites with zero data charges.
Bannering the Internet.org app launch in the Philippines is Smart’s budget brand Talk ‘N Text, which targets the larger mass segment of the population. The service is also available for Smart and Sun subscribers.
The services can be accessed from the Internet.org Android app or by visiting www.internet.org from a mobile browser.
The Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines estimates that only 38 percent of the country’s population had internet access in mid-2014.
According to Lim, “Through Internet.org, Smart and Facebook are able to provide Filipinos with a vast wealth of information at their fingertips, which in turn opens up doors for greater social opportunities for them, at no extra cost.”
As early as 2011, Smart had launched SmartNet, which offers free access to a suite of popular mobile apps. It also allows users to browse Smart’s news aggregator service Headlines, and use Yahoo! search and email services on their mobile phone without added data charges.
In 2013, Smart introduced PowerApp which lets subscribers enjoy internet packages such as photo, social, chat, email and unli (unlimited) packages for as low as P10 a day. The following year, the company offered PisoNet to enable Talk ‘N Text subscribers to access apps and websites on their mobile devices for only P1 per 10 minutes.
In September last year, Smart launched its successful Free Internet promo which gives prepaid, postpaid and broadband subscribers of Smart, Sun Cellular, and Talk ‘N Text 30 megabytes of free mobile internet access per day.
Smart continues to have largest and most advanced network in the country today, with a total of 26,242 cellular/broadband base stations, supported by more than 90,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables around the country.
Meanwhile, Globe Telecom set a global trend to promote internet adoption through the Free Facebook campaigns it has implemented over the past two years, in support of the objective of internet.org, a Facebook-led initiative to provide data connectivity to two-thirds of global population.
“Our partnership with Facebook enabled more Filipinos to gain internet connectivity, in line with the vision of internet.org to allow more and more people to have free access to internet services. Globe Telecom is extremely honored to be a pioneering force in improving internet adoption, an example that is now being followed by other telcos locally and globally,” said Daniel Horan, Globe senior advisor for consumer business group.
Globe generated data customer growth of 110 percent over its two Free Facebook campaigns, an indication that the campaign has been an effective tool in enhancing internet adoption in the country.