OVER a million people have downloaded and are now using SmartNet, the mobile application platform developed by Smart Communications to make it easy for people to use mobile Internet services safely and affordably.
“This is a major milestone in our efforts to promote mobile internet usage in the country,” said Orlando Vea, Smart’s chief wireless advisor.
“Available on Android, iOs and Windows operating systems, SmartNet is a Filipino innovation that provides a model for other emerging markets where subscribers have limited budgets for internet services,” he said.
Introduced in 2011, SmartNet has steadily gained ground because it offers a suite of popular mobile applications such as Twitter, Facebook, Facebook Chat, and Yahoo! Messenger for free.
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.
A key innovative feature of SmartNet is a widget called Safe Zone, which serves as the platform’s anti-bill shock solution.
By pressing the widget’s “Internet button,” users can turn “off” all applications outside of the SmartNet suite of applications.
If users want to access Internet services outside of SmartNet, they can just press the widget’s Internet button once more to turn “on” these services. Only then will regular data charges apply.
“By giving subscribers full control of their Internet usage, SmartNet gives them greater confidence to actually use more Web-based services,” Vea said.
“The strategy is working. SmartNet users are heavier data users than average subscribers,” he said.
Smart developed the mobile application platform to overcome a major obstacle standing in the way of more people being able to use mobile internet services. The average monthly revenue per subscriber in the Philippines is below $5. That provides little headroom for people to spend on mobile Internet services.
Moreover, people with tight budgets are hurt much more by unexpected data charges, which often happen because they are unfamiliar with the data features of smartphones.
By removing that fear and offering a suite of popular social media services for free, SmartNet opens the door for people to try out mobile internet services.
“We developed SmartNet to address the unique needs of Filipinos. Pinoys are a social media-savvy people – there are 30 million of us on Facebook and 10 million on Twitter – but many of us are hesitant to use mobile internet for fear of bill shock. Through SmartNet, we are making the internet and social media more accessible to Filipinos,” said Michael Padua, Smart head for internet product management.
“SmartNet is in line with Smart’s advocacy to put the power of the Internet in the hands of every Filipino so they can Live More,” Vea said. (PR)