PH telcos win awards in Barcelona

Philippine cellular carriers Globe Telecom and Smart Communications bagged awards recently at the 20th Global Mobile Awards held in Barcelona, Spain.

Smart innovation and product development head Mellissa Limcaoco

Smart innovation and product development head Mellissa Limcaoco

BPI Globe BanKO, a joint venture of Globe and commercial bank BPI, bagged the award for “Best Use of Mobile in Emergency and Humanitarian Situations” while rival Smart’s SPINNR, a music service, was named the “Best Mobile Music App.”

Global industry group GSMA organized the Mobile World Congress, which attracted major telcos worldwide.

Partnering with the global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps, BanKO’s emergency transfer program dubbed “TabangKO” provided the means to directly and efficiently send out much needed financial assistance to 25,000 families in Haiyan-affected communities and islands in the Visayas area.

More than 100 million pesos in aid was sent directly to beneficiaries’ BanKO accounts.

Instead of handing out paper vouchers or cash in envelopes, Mercy Corps was able to provide cash transfers to Haiyan survivors in a direct, effective and secure manner using BanKO’s mobile banking service. Beneficiaries could take out as much as they needed from their accounts by going to any of BanKO’s 4,000 partner outlets.

“TabangKO, as a mobile platform for financial aid, delivers tremendous benefit for our people living in highly vulnerable communities to become more resilient in the face of climactic disasters and external shocks.  The recognition from Global Mobile Awards serves as an affirmation of our efforts to deliver innovative banking solutions, capitalizing on telecommunication and mobile technologies,“ said John Rubio, BPI Globe BanKO president and CEO.

BanKO represents the growing trend toward branchless banking in emerging economies, where more people have mobile phones than traditional bank accounts and rural or island areas are harder for a traditional brick and mortar branch to reach.

BanKO’s mobile-based savings accounts are usually the first such account for most of the recipients who have never had a secure way to store their money before.

Smart’s SPINNR, meanwhile, was recognized for kick-starting the music streaming revolution in the Philippines

SPINNR was recognized among other nominees like Samsung’s Milk Music, Universal Music’s The Kleek, Bharti Airtel’s Wynk, and the Radio Sawa app.

Smart said SPINNR, launched in 2013 is the only music app that combines premium ad-free streaming with song purchases and free radio service, all for as low as P2.50 a day and with no data charges.

Unlike other digital music stores, SPINNR lets Smart, Talk ‘N Text, and Sun Cellular subscribers pay for music downloads or streaming conveniently, through prepaid load deductions or charging to their postpaid bill – no credit cards or special accounts needed.

“Our warmest congratulations to all the winners of the 20th Global Mobile Awards,” said GSMA CEO John Hoffman. “Our winners are in the esteemed company of the mobile innovators, pioneers, and leaders that have won these coveted awards over the last two decades, many of whom have been game-changers in transforming the way that the world communicates.”

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