Smart expands coverage of P550 data roaming service to 110 countries

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Mobile operator Smart Communications on Tuesday, October 13, unveiled the expanded coverage of its Surf Abroad 550 data roaming package to cover more than 110 countries around the world.

Tina Mariano, global access and international services head at Smart, speaking during the press launch at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel
Tina Mariano, global access and international services head at Smart, speaking during the press launch at the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel

It also made the offering, dubbed ?Surf Abroad 550,? a fully automated service for Smart Postpaid subscribers, eliminating the need to key in words or call a hotline.

Available for P550 per day, Smart?s Surf Abroad 550 is powered by a network-lock technology that makes sure the service only works on partner networks, and eliminates the hassle of having to manually select a roaming partner whenever a subscriber wants to access data services.

By automatically registering to the service with preferred roaming partners abroad, subscribers will no longer have to suffer from ?bill shock? when they return to the country.

Once the service is active, subscribers will receive an SMS notification informing them that they have already been subscribed to the enhanced Surf Abroad 550 package.

?Now, all users have to do is turn on ?data roaming? on their data-enabled phones and they will instantly be connected to our preferred roaming partners in that country. No more need to register via text or call our roaming hotline,? said Tina Mariano, global access and international services head at Smart.

Mariano also said during the press launch that the flat rate data roaming service will soon become available for pre-paid users.

From just 57 countries in 2014, Smart?s data roaming coverage has now been expanded to more than 53 additional countries, including top tourism destinations such as Myanmar, India, Finland, and Luxembourg, among many others.

By the end of the year, the list will further be expanded to include a total of 180 countries around the world.

The service is expected to contribute to the growth of Smart?s mobile data business, which has already registered a sharp 21% year-on-year growth to reach P4.7 billion during the first six months of 2015.

Smart said its data roaming offering caters to a growing market of young travelers, often referred to as ?millennials,? which are increasingly traveling for leisure in other countries given new overseas routes and lower airfare promos made available by local airlines.

The enhancements to Smart?s data offers appeal particularly to millennial travelers, according to Mariano, especially since they are the types of travelers who are always eager to instantly capture and share their experiences online via Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks.

According to the 2015 Annual Millennial Travel Habits study by global travel search site Hipmunk, Internet connectivity ranks among the top amenities most important to millennials whenever they book their flights or hotels abroad.

Around 43% of millennials surveyed by Hipmunk, for example, rank fast Internet connectivity as their most favorite hotel perk, while Internet ranks next to entertainment in the list of top in-flight amenities important to them.

?These types of travelers demand an always-on, instant-sharing experience when traveling abroad, which is why Smart has made it very convenient and affordable for them to connect to the Internet while traveling in other countries,? Mariano shared.

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