Wireless operator Smart Communications said it posted strong growth in mobile data usage among its subscribers in the first half of 2015, fueled initially by a free Internet promo and then sustained by new content and digital services.
Mobile data traffic passing through Smart?s mobile network surged almost 170% year-on-year for the first half of the year. This means more users are now accessing the Internet on their mobile devices.
?This ?data explosion? started when we introduced our ?Free Internet? promo last year which aimed to give our subscribers an opportunity to try out various Internet and digital services,? said Ariel P. Fermin, executive vice president and head of consumer business at Smart.
Some of the new digital initiatives include the Free Instagram offer for Smart subscribers, as well as the Free Facebook promo for Sun subscribers, which enabled users to communicate not just through calls and texts, but via these new digital services.
Earlier, PLDT announced that mobile data revenues from its mobile subsidiaries increased by 21% to reach P4.7 billion during the first six months of the year.
PLDT has already earmarked $100 million on top of its record P43 billion in CAPEX (capital expenditure) this year to acquire or co-develop services that will serve the needs of evolving digital consumers.
?The good news is we have already started stimulating usage among our subscriber base with breakthrough partnerships with the likes of FOX and iflix for mobile entertainment. Consumers can definitely expect more exciting partnerships in the coming months that will give them more opportunities to be digitally connected wherever they may be,? Fermin added.
The company said Internet TV streaming service iflix is now the fastest growing service of its kind in Southeast Asia after reaching more than 150,000 subscribers in less than three months after launching in Malaysia and the Philippines. PLDT had earlier invested $15 million in iflix as part of its efforts to expand into the digital space.
This was followed by a strategic partnership with FOX International Channels to offer live TV channels and soon, subscription video-on-demand and catch-up TV from FOX?s vast library of content, accessible by subscribers using their mobile devices.
Fermin added that the combination of rising smartphone adoption, coupled with attractive data packages and bundles, could further boost the growth of its mobile data business through 2015. Currently, smartphone penetration within the Smart and Sun networks stands at 35% and is expected to grow more rapidly in the months ahead.
?To respond to this growth, we have already started designing both our postpaid and prepaid offers in ways that allow our subscribers to access digital services in a more convenient and affordable way,? he said.