Sunday, September 18, 2011

SC rolls out e-monitoring for small claims cases

The Supreme Court recently launched the Small Claims Case Monitoring System (SC2MS), which seeks to enable the judiciary to better integrate its processes by shifting from manual to faster electronic processes.

Its key features include an automatic display of daily tasks, programmed custom reports, real-time case tracking, and an audit log that captures case history.

The new system, which also aims to improve data systems across localities and regions, is expected to save staff time, streamline the reporting process, reduce human errors, and increase the judiciary’s accountability.

The launch, held at the Hall of Justice of Valenzuela City, was attended by Chief justice Renato C. Corona, Associate justice Teresita J. Leonardo-De Castro, PhilJa chancellor Adolfo S. Azcuna, court administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez, US Agency for International Development (USAID) Philippines democracy and governance officer Catherine Hamlin, and USAID senior program manager Gerry Porta.

The computerization project was initiated by the SC and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) and funded by the USAID.

The pilot small claims project was launched in 44 trial courts in selected urban areas of the Philippines in October 2008. As a result, around 6,000 small claims cases have been filed during the project’s first nine months, of which 3,547 cases have been decided.

On average, cases are heard four months after a litigant files a small claims case while the hearing and the decision itself takes only one day. In comparison, traditional courts normally need three to four years to resolve incoming civil cases.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Lahatxt Unli25

Try Lahatxt Unli25, now with unli all-net texts, 10 minutes of calls smart to smart and 25MB good for the whole day! Text LTU25 to 2266!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smart, Globe offers Facebook for All Java App

In order to increase their mobile internet subscriber-base, Smart and Globe both released a Java-based App so that even cheaper (mostly Symbian S40) phones can now access Facebook conveniently.

Smart’s FB Java app works on over 2,500 low-cost phone models {see list here}.

To download, just text FB to 211. You will get a confirmation SMS with the link to the download page.

The service is free until October 14, 2011. Smart did not indicate how much they will charge after that but it’s possible the Php20 FB-all-you-want can be used here.

Globe also announced a similar Java app yesterday. To download their app, just text FB to 2910 to get the link.

You will need to use the MyGlobe Connect APN settings in order to use it for free (else you get charged the normal rates). The service is also free until October 31, 2011.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Smart Bro Rocket Plug-It offers up to 12Mbps

Smart is set to publicly announce their new HSPA+ capable Plug-It and calls it Smart Bro Rocket with promised speeds of up to 12Mbps on their mobile network.

The Smart Bro Rocket uses a Huawei E353 HSPA+ USB dongle.

The new dongle is available for prepaid users with a retail price of Php3,995 (will be available by Friday next week).

The same Smart Bro loading system works and the same rates apply (Php10 per 30 minutes). Smart currently has 154 base stations capable of delivering HSPA+ speeds so it’s still limited to Metro Manila and key provincial cities like Cebu and Davao.

NESIC speed test shows Smart Bro bests Tattoo

A recent speed test conducted by an independent professional engineering service, NESIC, showed that Smart Bro got better results, over-all. See some of the findings of the tests below.

The tests were conducted from July 4 to 6, 2011 in 100 test locations nationwide.

The tool used to measure the data was and the text server is located in San Francisco, USA (SF Monkey Brains server). Average speed test is taken from a sample of 5 tests.

Here’s the summary of the test done by NESIC:

- Smart is faster in 99 of the 100 test locations.

- 2.66Mbps highest peak speed for SmartBro (tested in Plantation Bay Resort)

- 1.23Mbps peak speed average for Smart Bro vs. 0.23Mbps of Globe Tattoo

- Average of 1Mbps faster in 47 of 100 locations.

- Average of 1.5Mbps faster in locations.

- Cebu has highest average speed difference of 1.38Mbps vs. Globe Tattoo

- Tondo, Manila has highest average speed difference of 2.29Mbps vs. Globe Tattoo.

Globe actually beat Smart Bro in only 1 of the 100 test locations (that’s at the Matutina Restaurant in Dagupan).

Smart’s network has been upgraded to HSPA+ as well with 3,116 base stations on HSPA 7.2Mbps and 154 base stations on HSPA+ 21Mbps.

It is interesting to note that NESIC was also used by Globe Telecom to do a similar test last year.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Google offers free SMS to Globe, Smart, Sun

Google announced Friday that it has launched Gmail-to-SMS, a free service wherein Filipinos can send and receive text messages from Gmail to Globe, Smart, and Sun subscribers.

“We are very excited to be launching SMS capabilities in Gmail Chat today,” said Myriam Boublil, Head of Communications and Public Affairs of Google Southeast Asia.

“SMS in Gmail Chat will bring a new level of flexibility and mobility to Gmail users in the Philippines. With more than 70 million mobile subscribers in the Philippines and the country being the SMS capital of the world, we think this service will allow for seamless integration between mobile and PC communication and make it more convenient for Pinoys to send each other messages,” he said.

Gmail users need only to send an instant message from the new SMS box in Gmail's chat window. Recipients can reply with a text message from their mobile phone (standard network charges will apply), which will appear on the sender's Gmail interface.

The text messages may also be archived like chat messages.

Initially, a user can send up to 50 messages continuously.

Smart, Globe and Sun Cellular welcomed the new service.

"We are constantly innovating and exploring new avenues of communication as part of our mission to put the power of the Internet into the hands of every Filipino. Our partnership with Google is proof of Smart’s commitment to continuously provide relevant services to Filipinos here and abroad," said Orlando Vea, Chief Wireless Advisor for Smart.

"Globe Telecom has always pursued new ways to delight our customers. With our partnership with Google, our subscribers can now enjoy sending text messages on their computers and laptops through their Gmail accounts," said Glenn Estrella, Head for Digital Media of Globe.

“Not only will it add to our robust suite of digital applications that allow our customers to communicate from PC to mobile phone, it will also make messaging from the computer more convenient with the accessibility of Gmail and without the need to install additional software.”

Francisco L. Arana III, Vice President of Product Development, International Services, VAS & Innovations of Sun Cellular, said, “We are pleased to be part of this partnership with Google for Gmail-to-SMS, which can help us provide our customers more ways to communicate and reach their families and contacts anywhere in the world. With Gmail-to-SMS, we can give our customers an innovative way to communicate by only using the Gmail account."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

NTC issues circular putting minimum speed on broadband service

In what could be one of its most important issuances yet, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has formally released a new circular that orders Internet broadband providers to specify a minimum speed in their service offerings.

The memorandum order, which the powerful regulatory body formally issued on Monday, compels broadband service providers to specify the minimum Internet connection speed and service reliability, as well as service rates in their advertisements and service level agreements.

The circular said that the acceptable minimum service reliability is 80 percent.

“The service offers shall specify the service rates for a minimum broadband/Internet connection speed and the service reliability. For example: a broadband service provider can offer P900.00/month for 512Kbps minimum connection speed and 80 percent service reliability, or P1,000.00/month for 512Kbps minimum connection speed and 85 percent service reliability, or P1,000/month for 1Mbps minimum connection speed and 80 percent reliability, etc.” the circular explained.

The NTC said it issued the circular to correct the practice of service providers who are specifying only the maximum speed in their broadband offerings.

The agency also said a minimum speed was necessary since various broadband wireless technologies differ in transmission characteristics, with mobile Internet access being the most vulnerable in signal fading more than fixed and fixed wireless Internet access.

The NTC order warned that failure on the part of a broadband service provider to comply is a ground for the filing of an administrative case.

The circular is expected to take effect 15 days after publication in a newspaper of general circulation.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Filipino inventions that 'wowed' the world!

No doubt, we Pinoys are born creative thinkers. Think of it, we can somehow get by and find ways to make life easier when we're low on moolah. Want a new cellphone? Trade-in your old one. Can't buy a car? Score a second-hand scooter. Dreaming of a 900-inch HDTV? Charge it on installment basis with your plastic cash.

You see, our ability to work around the problem is impressive. So in honor of the ingenious Pinoys, we introduce you to some of the world's best breakthrough inventions and innovations that are 100% made by our very own kababayans. Thumbs up to you, chong!

1.The water car

"Nothing is impossible" might be Filipino inventor Daniel Dingel's motto while he is creating his water-powered car back in 1969. How it works seems technical yet reading this might give you a pinch of idea. The vehicle uses regular fuel to start its engine. Afterwards, regular water will come rushing to the reactor which is split into two compartments. The mix will then result into combustion, propelling the car.
The invention was initially suspected to be a hoax. However, Mr. Dingle proved its capability as he drove from Manila to Cavite with 15 liters of water and only half a liter of gasoline. Officials of Department of Science and Technology later on dismissed accusations against Dingel's water-powered car. We bet Metro Manila the whole country will have much cleaner air once everyone hits this kind of car!

2. Lighting system that revives busted lamps

Got busted lamps? Don't throw it away yet! New World Technology, Inc. developed a system called Nutec Lighting System that can revive and prolong the life of busted fluorescent lamps for up to seven years. Filipino inventor and the company's President Eric Ngo and his partner invented a high-tech starter that can revive the busted lamps. The invention lets you save money and results in less waste since you don't have to replace your bulbs that often.

3. Videophone

We can't totally say but Skype might have a run for its money if it started in the 50s. A Batangueño and renowned Filipino engineer named Gregorio Zara actually invented the first-ever videophone or the two-way television telephone that he called the "photo phone signal separator network". This lets its users transmit video and audio between conversations real-time through a telephone back in 1955. We bet you didn't know that.

4. The artificial womb

Back when caesarian and painless deliveries aren't that prominent yet, an alumnae of the University of the Philippines (UP) College of Medicine and Harvard University School of Medicine's first Asian female student, Dr. Fe del Mundo, made remarkable studies that soon led to the invention of the incubator.

The incubator works by maintaining an environment like a mother's womb with the right temperature and comfort suitable for newborns. Other functions include oxygenation, protection, observation, nutrition, medication and maintenance. Think of it as an artificial womb, outside of mothers.

5. Antibiotic for penicillin allergies

No doubt, antibiotics make us feel better but what if you have an allergy to it? Good thing Filipino scientist Dr. Abelardo Aguilar was able to discover erythromycin, an antibiotic from the Aspergillus species of fungi in 1949. Erythromycin is used for patients who are allergic to penicillin and became its alternative. It was allegedly registered under the name of Iloson in honor of Iloilo where it was discovered and said to be the first successful macrolide antibiotic introduced in America.

6. The mole/wart remover

You know you will look more gwapo without that mole or wart yet you're low on cash for a surgery. No need to worry, dude! Filipino scientist Rolando dela Cruz's discovery will surely boost your pogi points. He formulated and enhanced a natural solution from the humble cashew nut (which is, by the way, abundant in our country) in 2000. This formula can eliminate deeply grown moles or warts leaving no marks and is said to be painless to the patients. Nice!

7. Vazbuilt’s instant abode

Want a house built in less than a month? Then better contact Edgardo "Kabahay" Vasquez! The World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Inventor of the Year in 1995 developed Vazbuilt, a modular housing system that makes building a house possible in lesser time and for a cheaper price. Its reported that this system uses prefabricated materials strong enough to endure storms, earthquakes, fire and even termites! And what's cooler is that it's made with lighter materials which means you can dismantle and reassemble your house if you want to redesign.

8. Single-chip graphical user interface accelerator

Pinoy engineer Diosdado Banatao introduced the first single-chip graphical user interface accelerator in the planet. His concept is responsible for bringing better speeds to our PCs. He also is instrumental in developing the Ethernet controller chip which made the Internet possible. Now we know why he's called the Bill Gates of the Philippines.

9. Wonder water

If there will be a liquid that can actually help students prep for an exam, it will definitely be sold out in an instant! And that can happen for the Department of Science and Technology's (DOST) "Tubig Talino". The special water is said to help cure goiter, mental and physical abnormalities and inborn illnesses. The wonder liquid is also rich in iodine. In fact, daily consumption will give an adult enough iodine for his/her daily needs. That definitely gets a thumbs up from us!

Globe and Smart offers unlimited text to all networks

Now this is competition at work. Both Globe and Smart offer its prepaid subscribers unlimited text for a day to all networks for only Php25! Here’s how you can register on whichever telco you’re on.

For just P25, you’ll get Unlimited SMS to any network (Globe, TM, Smart, Talk ‘n Text, Sun and Red Mobile) plus 1 hour of mobile internet valid for 1 day.

Check Globe’s website for complete details and FAQs.

Text UALL25 to 8888

P1 maintaining balance is required to continue using the service.

Smart LAHATxt Unli 25

For only P25, Smart Buddy subscribers can text as much as you want to any network (Smart, Talk ‘n Text, Red, Globe, Touch Mobile, Sun).

Text LTU25 to 2266

The subscriber needs to maintain at least P1.00 airtime in order to enjoy using the package.

Check Smart’s website for complete details.

So there you have it. Globe users has the advantage here with the 1-hour free internet but Smart is having the promo for a longer time. Now if only they can also offer this on a per-week basis. Then maybe call to all networks next time.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Talk 'N Text Unlitext150

Unlitext150! Unlimited texts na pang-isang buwan sa halagang P150 lang! Limang piso lang kada araw, pwede ka nang mag-unlimited chikahan sa lahat ng mga naka-Talk 'N Text, Smart at red mobile!

P5 nalang ang unlitxt kada araw! Sa P150 mo, mayroon kang 30 days na unlimited text sa TNT/SMART/red! Para magregister sa UNLITXT150, i-text ang U150 sa 4545. Magmaintain ng P1 load. Available din sa eload.

Talk 'N Text Unlitxt 2All 20

Heto na! Talk 'N Text Unlitxt 2All 20! Unlimited texts sa TM, Globe, Sun, Smart at Talk 'N Text! Text UA20 to 4545!

Talk 'N Text Katok15

Sa Talk ‘N Text KATOK15, may 2-way unlimited tawagan na pang-tatluhan! Mag register via keyword. I-text ang KATOK15 at i-send sa 3533. Ang unang dalawang number na tatawagan mo gamit ng *3533+(11 digit number) ang iyong magiging automatic na ka-tok, may load man sila o wala!

Talk 'N Text Katok10

Sa Talk ‘N Text KATOK10, may 2-way unlimited tawagan na kayo ng iyong always ka-TOK! Mag register via keyword. I-text ang KATOK10 at i-send sa 3533. Ang unang number na tatawagan mo gamit ng *3533+(11 digit number) ang iyong magiging automatic na ka-tok, may load man sya o wala! Sa P10 lang, 2-way unli tok na, kahit wala pang load ang iyong registered na ka-tok! Valid for 1 day!

Smart LAHATxt Unli 25!

Here's what you've all been waiting for!
Only P25 for 1 day, unlimited texts to all networks!
Unlimited texts to ALL NETWORKS na may kakaibang lakas! Text LTU25 to 2266!

Smart has an Unli Call & Text postpaid plan too

First, the lowdown: Mobile phone owners, this is good news! Smart Communications is finally giving in to the unlimited call and text trend of postpaid subscribers, which was popularized by Sun Cellular. Amazingly, the network giant has managed to drop its prices too making it a masa-friendly option for hard working Pinoys.

Here's the deal: Smart pegged their Unli Call & Text promo at just P599 a month and that gives you a bundled Nokia C1-01 handset, too! Sweet. If you're more of a text buff than a call junkie, then opt for a cheaper plan deal. Get this, have unlimited text access for a month and score a free phone with this plan - a sleek Samsung E1080. They call it the Unli Text Plan 299. And as most unlimited promos go, it'll be limited only to Smart, Talk N Text, and Red Mobile’s networks. Yep, expected. Both plans are available until October 7 at selected Smart branches in the metro and in SM Cebu.

Now, onto the burning question: Taking notice of these sweet deals from PLDT's little brother kind of reminds you of something, like that popular claim-to-fame plan program of Sun Cellular (Digitel's baby) where you get unlimited call-and-text plus a phone of your choice for P350 a month. So, is this a subtle signal that the PLDT - Digitel merger is finally happening? Now that the NTC hearing on the controversial merger is running, we wouldn't be surprised if, anytime soon, the two network giants finally do a Voltes V and scream, "Let's volt in!"

Automated guideway transit prototype to be built in UP Diliman

The University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City will be the site of the first All-Filipino Automated Guideway Transit (AGT) system.

UP, Department of Science and Technology and Department of Transportation and Communication will sign a Memorandum of Agreement on July 18, 8:00 a.m. which will set the Diliman campus as the site of the prototype of the AGT.

Immediately following the signing of the agreement is a Groundbreaking Ceremony at the Emilio Jacinto corner Lakandula Streets of UP Diliman.

Expected to attend are Sen. Edgardo Angara, former UP President and Chair of the Senate Committee on Science and Technology; Secretary Mario Montejo of the Department of Science and Technology; and Secretary Mar Roxas of the Department of Transportation and Communication.

The Memorandum of Agreement and Groundbreaking Ceremony resulted from a Memorandum of Understanding signed last January between UP and DOST.

Under the MOU, the prototype will be composed of two 60-passenger coaches which will run in one track. According to the UP administration, the prototype will not only play an important role in the lives of UP community but also in the study of alternative mass transport systems which could be used by the DOST and other government agencies in the country’s urban centers.

In a press statement of Secretary Montejo last December, he said that the cost of studying and creating a local AGT system is only one-fifth of the cost of importing a unit from abroad. The prototype at UP will therefore not only serve as a means for UP faculty, students and staff as conveyance around the campus, but also as a view into the future of Filipino-made mass transport systems.

Globe Telecom rolls out its biggest prepaid offer

Globe Telecom is rolling out nationwide its biggest offer for its Globe prepaid subscribers that will give users the ultimate unrestricted experience in text messaging, while also providing them access to the internet on their cellphone.

Globe SUPERUNLIALLTXT25 is the premier unlimited text offer, empowering Globe prepaid users to stay connected with their friends subscribed to other networks anytime they want. The offer is available on a daily variant for only P25, while also including one hour of free mobile internet.

With Globe SUPERUNLIALLTXT25 subscribers no longer need an extra phone or SIM because they can now get in touch with all 85 million mobile subscribers nationwide through unlimited text messaging – either from Smart, Sun, Globe, TM, Talk ‘n Text or Red Mobile.

Globe has pioneered the introduction of unlimited all-network SMS. Since March Globe has offered, through its TM prepaid brand, unlimited all-network SMS to selected provinces. Globe is also the first to offer an unlimited text messaging service under our postpaid plan, and now “SUPERUNLIALLTXT25 continues Globe’s innovation, rolling out nationwide and extending the unlimited ‘fever’ to our Globe prepaid customers who make up majority of our subscriber base with Globe SUPERUNLIALLTXT25,” said Peter Bithos, Globe Senior Advisor for Consumer Business.

Added Mr. Bithos, “With this new offer, subscribers get more than what they pay for. Part of the offer is the free one hour mobile browsing for users to enjoy mobile data, which is also a priority business for Globe. Globe is known to introduce game-changing offers which gives consumers more value for their money than they ever thought possible and in doing so, allows them to live in the moment like never before.” This latest initiative continues a string of innovative and customer-focused offers that Globe has been pioneering since last year, for example with our launch of SuperAllText, SuperIDD, and others.

To register to Globe SUPERUNLIALLTXT25, subscribers must text UALL25 and send to 8888. The subscriber must maintain P1 balance to enjoy the service.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

1 in 3 consumers in PH access the Internet

One in 3 consumers--or 33 percent--have been accessing the Internet in the country, a report by the global insights and measurement company Nielsen revealed Tuesday.

This is 5 percentage points below the regional average for Southeast Asia (38%).

The report, a pre-release of data from the company's Southeast Asia Digital Consumer Report, also noted that for the Philippines, younger people are more likely to go online rather than older ones.

Among consumers in the country in the 15-19 age bracket, about two-thirds (65%) use the Internet. Of those in their 20s, close to half of them (48%) go online.

Of those in their 30s, only 24% access the Internet; those in their 40s, 13%; while only 4% of consumers in their 50s go online.

Where they go online

The report also said that in most of Southeast Asia, consumers accessed the Internet from home more.

In the Philippines, however, 74% of the users in the 15-19 age bracket go online at Internet cafes.

For users aged 30 and above, they access the Internet from home more, with 86% of users in their 50s going online at home.

Fifty-two percent of Filipinos have high-speed Internet connection in their computers at home, said the report, which will be available on September 30.

Going mobile

Some 24% of Filipino Internet users are said to go online daily using their mobile phone, and 56% intend to do so in the next 12 months.

"The sophisticated capabilities, ease of use and overall user experience provided by smartphones like the iPhone and Blackberry is changing the patterns of behavior of digital consumers," observed Jay Bautista, Managing Director of Nielsen's media business in the Philippines.

"The anytime, anywhere access to digital media that smartphones and other Internet devices affords is stimulating online media consumption and will be a significant driving force for increased Internet usage in the future."

Social media and buying habits

Social media is huge among Filipino online users, the report noted.

"In the Philippines, communicating via social media has now overtaken email to become the most popular form of online communication--over two-thirds of Filipino digital consumers (67%) have visited social networking sites, compared to 40% who use email," Nielsen said in a statement.

Social media is also drawing Filipino consumers to interact with companies and brands.

Nielsen said the country emerged the 2nd highest (75% of Filipino users do) in the number of people who "liked" or followed a brand, company, or celebrity on social networking sites.

Most of them also trust consumer opinions posted online (61% of users, which is 7 points above the regional average).

In making purchasing decisions, Filipino consumers also trust online product reviews and discussion forums, next to recommendations made by family and friends. About two-thirds (64%) of Filipinos accessing the Internet turn to social media before making decisions to buy a product or service.

"The rise of social media platforms has facilitated more ways for word of mouth communication to take place and this presents both opportunities and challenges for companies," noted Bautista.

"Filipinos are increasingly looking to their fellow Internet users for opinions and information about products, services and brands, and engagement with online word of mouth communication is going to increase in coming years as social media plays an increasingly important role in consumer decision making."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Albie's family welcomes DNA test

“We welcome a DNA test.”

This was the message of the family of young actor Albie Casiño, who is being suspected as the father of Andi Eigenmann’s child.

"Walang problema kung anak ko ang nakabuntis ke Andi, blessing yan. And we welcome DNA test,” said Albie’s mom, Rina, in a statement sent to entertainment columnist Ogie Diaz.

DNA Solutions Philippines said it is possible to conduct DNA testing while the baby is still inside the womb of the mother.

Mariele Concepcion said: “Posible ang DNA testing kahit buntis pa ang nanay… kumukuha sila ng amniotic fluid para ma-check ang DNA ng bata at ikukumpara sa alleged father. Ang isang bata nakukuha niya ang DNA niya, kalahati sa tatay, kalahati sa nanay niya.”

The Eigenmann’s family declined to comment on the issue, The Buzz reported.

Albie and Eigenmann used to be a couple before their bitter separation.

Eigenmann is 4 months pregnant, but her camp refuses to divulge the identity of her child's father.

More attacks on Philippine government websites possible, says Kaspersky Lab

If you’ve seen the movie “Hackers” (remember “Crash Override” and “Acid Burn” – that movie where Angelina Jolie met her first husband), you know that hacking is not something to take lightly. And in this day and age where most of our information (personal and professional) is stored online, hackers are having a field day scheming up ways to use all of this information against us. And who more to protect than our own government, as is with all matters of “national security.”

Costin Raiu, Kaspersky Lab Global Research and Analysis Team Director, says the government must put in place their own defense strategies against attacks on government websites. They must also conduct security audits of their servers as soon as possible to identify potential vulnerabilities. “First of all, it’s important to have an anti-DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) plan – be it from increasing the internet bandwidth to purchasing a specific anti-DDoS service plan,” Raiu says. “Given the past incidents of this kind, it is expected that the attack will consist of a DDoS flood designed to bring down the server and make it unreachable. It’s possible the confidential information will be sought after, so the defense strategies would be multiple,” Raiu warns.

According to the Kaspersky expert, even with the best ways to protect websites, there could still be attacks that might get through. As such, Raiu says governments must have contingency plans in place to ensure continued operations of the websites.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Globe ENCASH to deploy ATMs in the countryside

ENCASH, the Philippines’ first Independent ATM Deployer, gets to set up its own automated teller machines (ATM) in the countryside primarily to serve ATM cardholders and people in areas where there are no commercial bank ATMs available.

Today, they’re the preferred partner of the large network of rural banks operating in the regions, now aggressively set-out to offering ATM services.

With this mission, ENCASH uses the Virtual Private Network (VPN) of Globe Business which provides for the secure and reliable connectivity required by these ATMs.

Jose Maria Valdes, Director for Operations at ENCASH, said that ATM business is the business of dispensing money, so the first thing you have to make sure of is that the network is secure.

Second, you have to make sure the system is always up.

"We were able to locate the ATMs in remote areas and make sure the messages are transmitted in a secure manner and the system is practically available 99 percent of the time using the technology offered by Globe", said Valdes.

He added, "We needed a network that is private, secure and under our control. We found these in the Virtual Private Network of Globe. We are assured of a network that is both stable and reliable."

Globe VPN gives business customers their own private network. Unlike standard private network offerings this is internet based yet it is completely secure.

Various offices are connected together in a private fashion in their own private network but without the prohibitive cost of a standard private network service.

ENCASH intends to reach 400 ATMs by the end of the year in partnership with Globe Business. It is targeting almost 700 ATMs by 2012 using Globe VPN.

Business solutions like VPN is just one of the many communication tools that Globe Business offers to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Globe Business is the one-stop shop that offers wireless, wireline and data services simplified to meet every business requirement.

Smart fetes seafarers with Smart Money offer

IN CELEBRATION of the first ever "Day of the Filipino Seafarers", leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is enabling all Filipino seafarers and their loved ones to avail of Smart Money – the world's first cash card linked to a mobile phone – for affordable, secure, and convenient remittance.

From June 25 until December 31, 2011, all Filipino seafarers and their designated beneficiary, or allottee, can simply proceed to any Smart Retail Store anywhere in the country, and present their "seaman's book" or their "allottee card" as proof, to collect their free Smart Money cards and start using the service to directly receive remittance within minutes from abroad.

If the seafarer or the designated beneficiary does not have a Smart or Talk ‘N Text SIM, he can be provided with a Smart Buddy SIM, for free, upon a minimum top-up of P30.

Relevant services

The Smart Money offer complements the Smart Link service designed specifically to answer the communication needs of seafaring Filipinos.

The Philippines is said to be the world's leading supplier of ship crew men and women, with an estimated 330,000 Filipino seafarers, or about a quarter of the world's sailors, manning various types of vessels worldwide.

Smart Link, deployed across 7,500 maritime vessels all over the world, is the country’s first and only prepaid satellite phone service catering to the maritime industry. It provides coverage to seafarers sailing within Asia-Pacific, Indian Ocean, Middle East, Africa, and some parts of Europe and the Mediterranean Sea.

"This is one of the synergies that we at Smart are happy to provide to all our valued seafarers everywhere, and to their families here, hopefully to help improve the quality of their lives," shared Orlando B. Vea, co-founder and Chief Wireless Advisor of Smart.

Convenient, fast receipt

Wherever they are in the world, Filipino seafarers can make cash transfers to their loved-ones' Smart Money account in the Philippines. They can do this through any of over 95,000 international money transfer locations, including participating locations of The Western Union Company® and MoneyGram International in the United States, Malaysia, and in Hong Kong.

Once the funds are sent, within minutes the Philippine-based beneficiary receives a free SMS notification on the details of the Smart Money fund transfer. They then have the option to use the funds to securely pay for utility bills such as Meralco and Maynilad, among others, with just a few clicks on their mobile phone, anytime, anywhere.

They may also use funds from their Smart Money electronic wallet to transfer money to their Smart or Talk ‘N Text friends through Pasa Pera by just entering their mobile number, or purchase airtime load for their Smart mobile phones and get 5% bonus load, or to pay for goods and services securely from over 35 million MasterCard establishments worldwide and online.

Smart Money accountholders also have the option to use their Smart Money card to withdraw the seafarer’s cash remittance from any of over 10,000 ATMS, 4,000 Smart Money Centers, or 100 Smart Retail Stores.

To find out more about Smart's slew of services available to seafaring Filipinos and their loved ones, please visit the nearest Smart Wireless Center or Smart Store, or join the conversation at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chief Justice Corona Orders Live Webcast of Maguindanao Massacre Trial thru SC Website

Pursuant to the decision of the Supreme Court partially granting pro hac vice (for this particular occasion) the request for the live broadcast of the Maguindanao Massacre trial, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona has instructed the SC Public Information Office to provide a live video webcast of the court proceedings through the SC website. With this, the Maguindanao Massacre trial will be accessible to viewers worldwide, continuously and without interruption. Once a scheduled trial is in progress, it can be immediately viewed by simply accessing the SC website using computers or mobile internet devices, including cellphones equipped with required software.

Public Information Office Chief and Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez is now restructuring the website and acquiring the technical requirements to comply with the order of the Chief Justice. “I am meeting with the technical staff this afternoon so that we could immediately comply with the instructions of the Chief Justice. Hopefully, with the live webcast, the objections regarding no commercial breaks or gaps, and continuous broadcast of entire proceedings, will be addressed,” Marquez said.

On 14 June 2011, the Court unanimously allowed the live broadcast of the Maguindanao Massacre Trial based on a set of guidelines; some of which are: (1) an audio-visual recording of the Maguindanao massacre cases may be made both for documentary purposes and for transmittal to live broadcast broadcasting; (2) media entities must file with the trial court a letter of application, manifesting that they intend to broadcast the audio-visual recording (AVR) of the proceedings; no selective or partial coverage shall be allowed and no media entity shall be allowed to broadcast the proceedings without an application duly approved by the trial court; (3) a single fixed compact camera shall be installed inconspicuously inside the courtroom to provide a single wide-angle full-view of the sala of the trial court; no panning and zooming shall be allowed to avoid unduly highlighting or downplaying incidents in the proceedings x x x x (5) the broadcasting of the proceedings for a particular day must be continuous and in its entirety; (6) no commercial break or any other gap shall be allowed until the day’s proceedings are adjourned, except during the period of recess call by the trial court and during portions of the proceedings wherein the public is ordered excluded; (7) the proceedings shall be broadcast without any voice-overs, except brief annotations of scenes depicted therein as may be necessary to explain them at the start or at the end of the scene; (8) no repeat airing of the AVR shall be allowed until after the finality of judgment, except brief footages and still images derived from or cartographic sketches of scenes based on the recording, only for news purposes, which shall likewise observe the sub judice rule and be subject to the contempt power of the court. x x x x
“We will try to do a test webcast by next week,” Marquez added.

AM No. 10-11-5-SC, Re: Petition for Radio and Television Coverage of the Multiple Murder Cases against Maguindanao Governor Zaldy Ampatuan, et al.; AM No. 10-11-7-SC, Re: Letter of President Benigno S. Aquino III for the Live Media Coverage of the Maguindanao Massacre Trial, June 14, 2011.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wi-Tribe removes data cap, but then warns heavy subscribers

Wi-Tribe Telecoms on Monday said it will offer “unlimited” Internet services to its subscribers, but at the same time warned its heaviest users that Internet speed may slow down for them.

Wi-Tribe said 5 percent of subscribers may be deemed “abusive” for hogging up to a quarter of its bandwidth.

The company claimed record-breaking sales in recent months but would not reveal the exact numbers. Officials claimed to have registered 55,000 subscribers to date. Wi-Tribe attributed the robust sales to “good service quality and value for money plans” starting at P598 for 512 kbps. Wi-Tribe claims that this makes the plan the cheapest stand-alone broadband service in the country.

The company’s “unlimited” services, however, comes with a qualifier for truly heavy users.

“We have a smart network that has a trigger set to throttle the speed down. We are reviewing the fair-use policy for heavy users, as other operators are now implementing here and around the world,” said Simon Burckhardt, Wi-Tribe chief commercial adviser, in a press conference called by Wi-Tribe Telecoms, formerly Liberty Broadcasting Network, Inc. (LBNI). Wi-Tribe is backed by San Miguel Corp. and Qatar Telecoms Group.

For plan P599, with Internet speeds of up to 512 kbps, Wi-Tribe said it will remove a the 1GB data cap. The company also said it has removed a 6GB data cap on subscribers under its Plan P998, which comes with up to 1mbps of internet speed. Wi-Tribe’s Plan P1,998, which used to have a data cap of 12GB, now offers an internet speed of up to 2mbps.

“With today’s announcement of the removal of our data caps we believe we now offer the best value broadband internet service in the market,” company product head Edmund Pike said.

In recent days, however, Wi-Tribe had also been warning heavy users that they may be penalized for usage beyond what the company would consider “normal”.

A typical message to heavy-usage Wi-Tribe customers – those that “have been regularly using the service at a very high level over the past months” – warns that Wi-Tribe “may be regulating your usage to ensure it comes down to a more normal level. You may find your service speed significantly reduced on some days during this month and possibly future months if your usage is still way above normal."

Friday, June 3, 2011

Globe unleashes 10Mbps ?Lamborghini? broadband stick

Ayala-owned Globe Telecom, through its nomadic broadband brand Tattoo, has launched its broadband stick that allows subscribers to have Internet speeds of up to 10Mbps.

The Tattoo Tonino Lamborghini is said to be the fastest mobile broadband dongle available in the market today, with speeds of up to 5x faster than regular broadband sticks.

Globe said Tattoo Tonino Lamborghini is the first service offered under the company’s 4G mobile network, which utilizes the global standard HSPA+.

To date, commercial deployment of HSPA+ has doubled, with presence now available in Mandaluyong, Navotas, Caloocan and Valenzuela. Expansion will continue within the next few months in more cities and areas in Metro Manila.

Dong Ronquillo, head of Globe Tattoo said, “Finally, the wait is over. Our subscribers can experience the real 4G technology with the new Tattoo Tonino Lamborghini, the pioneering offer under our portfolio of 4G services. We have partnered with car company Lamborghini to brand our latest Tattoo offer. Lamborghini is known for producing the fastest race cars while Tattoo is all about providing the fastest broadband speeds.”

The Tattoo Tonino Lamborghini is available under Tattoo’s newest postpaid plan for P2,199 monthly.

The package also includes free 200 text messages to Globe/TM. Regular SMS, voice, and other services will be charged on top of the monthly fee.

Apart from this offer, Tattoo is also introducing faster speeds for its two postpaid plans at no extra charge for new and existing postpaid subscribers.

Starting June 6, Tattoo Plan 999 subscribers can enjoy Internet speeds of up to 3Mbps instead of 2Mbps.

Tattoo Plan 1299 subscribers using Tattoo Superstick can maximize surfing on speeds of up to 5Mbps from 3Mbps.

Upgrade to a Tattoo MyFi device has also been reduced, now at P100 monthly from P149, available for Tattoo Plan 499 and 999.

Tattoo Tonino Lamborghini subscribers can upgrade to a Tattoo MyFi for P50 monthly.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Globe pioneers launch of video message service

In another Philippine first, Globe Telecom is pioneering the launch of Video Message Service (VMS), another breakthrough service that allow users to engage more with their mobile phones as well as their friends.

Touted as one of the most interactive media channels available for mobile phone users today, VMS allows users to create, view, upload and share video content through their handsets.

With VMS, subscribers can send and receive video messages just like text messages.

It also allows users to connect with their favorite celebrities by following their video blogs and music videos, watching their video clips, or being updated with the latest happenings and events. iPhone and Android users can enjoy the VMS application by downloading it for free from the App Store or Android Market.

BlackBerry and Symbian phones will be supported very soon.

Enhancing the way people communicate, VMS is perfect for personal messages, allowing users to connect via video instead of text or voice messaging.

Upon access of the VMS application, the VMS interactive menu will be installed on subscribers’ mobile phones, allowing them to record a video message, send or view a peer-to-peer (P2P) video, or download video clips of their favorite shows or celebrity video interviews and blogs.

To bring the innovative service closer to mobile phone users in the country, Globe has partnered with Ironroad Manila for the VMS platform and GMA New Media, Inc. (NMI) for exclusive VMS content in the form of short clips of GMA TV shows and celebrity video blogs.

Subscribers can also follow local and foreign video bloggers and acquire premium content offered by VMS broadcasters around the world.

As a special treat, VMS be will available for free to subscribers of My Super Surf Plan, the company’s newest unlimited postpaid data plans.

Under the Globe My Super Surf Plan, VMS users can enjoy creating and sharing mobile videos on their favorite gadget until July 31, 2011.

This new service is even more exciting when used with Globe Telecom’s 4G mobile network which utilizes the global standard HSPA+, allowing faster and more seamless access to various types of video content on the mobile phone.

"We are very excited to bring another innovation to our subscribers with the launch of the VMS. Through VMS, we are giving our subscribers another opportunity to enjoy their mobile phones apart from texting, calling or doing mobile internet. With this new technology, we are strengthening the connections and bonds of every Filipino by providing them yet another exciting and innovative platform to share their precious moments with each other," said Joanna Africa, Head for Portfolio Management of Globe Telecom.

Apart from the partnership, Globe will also be supporting the launch with a massive campaign that involves on-ground and experiential activities to allow subscribers to fully enjoy the VMS experience.

Monday, May 30, 2011


It’s the new SMARTALK UnliCall&Text25!

Now your unlimited calls are made even stronger with unlimited text—so you can always make someone’s day with your call or text message.

With the new SmartalkUnliCall&Text25 call and text ALL-YOU-CAN to over 46 million subscribers with the nationwidest coverage for only P25!

Enjoy unlimited connection with your loved ones all day long.

To register, text UNLI 25 to 6406.
To call, dial *6406 + 11-digit Smart/TNT/red #.
Maintain P1.00 balance while subscribed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Extra Awesome Weekends

Smart subscribers now have an extra reason to celebrate Saturdays and Sundays!

Weekends are the time for longer bonding moments with family and friends. Connecting by call, text, and mobile internet are needed more than ever.

Extra Awesome Weekends makes this possible -- enjoy more texts, longer calls, and longer validity.
Each week, Smart will feature a favorite prepaid offer for Extra Awesome Weekends. There are no strings attached or complicated registrations needed!

This week’s offers:

For P20, subscribers get:
60 minutes consumable calls to SMART/TNT/red
+ 60 minutes mobile internet, valid for 1 day

For P30, subscribers get:
1,000 texts to SMART/TNT/red
+ 10 texts to all networks, valid until Sunday 11:59 PM


How Do I Register?
To register to Extra Call and Surf 20, text EXTRACALL to 8998
Register anytime from Sat 12mn to Sun 12nn, valid for 1 day

To register to Extra All Text 30, text EXTRATEXT to 8998
Register anytime within Sat to Sun, valid until Sunday 11:59 pm

How Do I Use?*
To call using CALL AND SURF 20, dial *6415 + 11digit SMART/TNT/red mobile number
E.g. *641509201234567

Need help?
Text INFO to 8998 for FREE INQUIRIES

*P1.00 must be maintained

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

ITU universal charger made greener, leaner

The universal charging solution being pushed by the ITU (International Telecommunications Union), the world governing body for ICT, has been expanded to include its use to a wider variety of devices and making it even more energy efficient.

With the universal charger, the ITU said tt will no longer be necessary to provide a new charger with every new ICT device.

A detachable cable with standardized end connectors will allow connection to devices including all mobile phones and other hand-held devices (including MP3/MP4 players, tablet computers, cameras, wireless headphones, GPS devices etc).

This also means that it can be used for data transfer, avoiding an unnecessary duplicate cable and thus further reducing costs and e-waste.

ITU members also agreed to specify a no-load power consumption of the power adapter below 0.03W which is the most efficient available today.

Considering that billions of these chargers will be made available in the market in the next few years, the new standard will enable a significant global energy reduction.

Chargers built according to the new standard will be safer, use eco-friendly materials, and the user guide will remind people to unplug their chargers when not in use, to further reduce the environmental impact of charging.

In addition, the recommended charging current has been increased – in the range 750 to 1500 mA – so as to reduce charging time. Furthermore, the standard now meets the requirements of the Basel Convention on e-waste.

ITU secretary-general Hamadoun Touré said, “Other standards claim to be universal and energy efficient, but only ITU’s solution is truly universal and a real step forward in addressing environmental and climate change issues.

“This updated standard will bring the benefits of the universal charger to a wider range of devices and consumers. I am sure it will be welcomed by all ITU’s membership – 192 governments and over 700 private sector entities. The environmental impact of wide adoption will be enormous.”

Companies including Telecom Italia, France Telecom-Orange, China Academy of Telecommunication Research (CATR), Research In Motion, Swisscom, Belgacom, AT&T, Telefónica, TDC, Huawei, Telia Sonera and A1 Telekom Austria have already committed to the standard.

Monday, May 2, 2011

ISDB-T in the midst of disaster

After the devastating earthquake in Japan last March 11, 2011, we heard stories of sadness, despair and of grief but above all these are also stories of survival and of triumph against whatever trials the country was faced with. For Japan, the disaster definitely brought out the best from its people. Indeed, their admirable discipline, patience and the sense of brotherhood prevailed.

One such story, as reported from Yomiuri Shimbun, was how two new police officers were able to save 40 lives from a train. Right after the earthquake, a tsunami warning was immediately sent off. Amazing how information was immediately disseminated even though all TV and mobile networks were disabled at that time. The warning actually came through a mobile phone with TV on one of the passengers in the train and this was made possible through ISDB-T. The result: the two police officers quickly led the passengers to the hill and all passengers including the two police officers were safely evacuated from the tsunami area before the tsunami struck the train. Imagine, if it weren’t for that tsunami warning being sent off through a mobile TV, 42 lives could’ve been lost.

Upon hearing this, I couldn’t help but look back as I still vividly remember how Motohiko Kato, Consul General of Japan in the Philippines passionately discussed to me ISDB-T and how this technology places maximum protection on human lives.

Let me refresh your memory. A few months back, I wrote an article about our country making the big switch from analog to digital TV broadcast and why ISDB-T was the perfect choice for such switch. Integrated Services Digital Broadcast - Terrestrial (ISDB-T) is the most advanced international standard on digital terrestrial television broadcasting. Aside from a better reception and wider coverage area, ISDB-T has band segmentation and in one channel bandwidth it can utilize and accommodate a combination of HDTV/SDTV/Mobile TV. One transmitter is enough; hence, it is very economical. But above all, allow me to reiterate to you the importance of this technology when it comes to providing protection to human lives specially in uncontrollable situations like typhoons and natural disasters particularly on earthquakes and tsunamis(as well exemplified to what happened in Japan).

ISDB-T has emergency warning broadcasting system. This technology prioritizes human lives. In an unmerciful conditions like earthquakes, typhoons and tsunamis people will get emergency warnings and if in cases where there will be traffic congestion in mobile networks or if any means of communication services were disabled, ISDB-T’s mobile TV can and will be able to transmit emergency warnings and evacuation instructions. It can endure and tolerate damages caused by the disaster assuring us of continued service.

In emergency cases such as these, normally when the Japan Meteorological Agency gets information of an inevitable disaster such as a tsunami, a warning will be sent off to the different broadcasting networks and this will then be transmitted to the different mediums like televisions and radios. Television sets or radios that are turned off will be automatically be switched on to give the alert. In the case of Japan where most houses were destroyed because of the strong earthquake, no television sets or radios were functioning due to power failure. Information was sent through the mobile TV. It actually does make sense. Mobile phones can easily be carried and we practically have it anywhere we go; so in situations like these, it may just be the only thing you can easily grab and get hold of.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Globe's mobile 4G to benefit existing broadband users

Stressing the importance of improving user experience and quality of service, Globe today demonstrated the capability of mobile 4G (HSPA+ or Evolved High-Speed Packet Access), which is geared to benefit even 3G and other broadband users.

“One of the reasons why we launched HSPA+ is to improve internet experience. Our customers tell us that they want better broadband speed, faster browsing, ease in download, etc. Another reason is that our broadband business is growing and the 4G mobile upgrade will also help existing customers. And I think that the timing of the device availability and the technology is right,” said Peter Bithos, senior advisor for Consumer Division, of Globe Telecom.

Existing Globe users in Marikina, Quezon City, Makati, Pasay, Las Pinas, Taguig and Manila will already enjoy faster internet experience, without additional charge, due to the activation of the mobile 4G sites in the said areas, which began last week.

Price packages and devices that will carry the mobile 4G will be announced in the coming months along with the rollout of more 4G mobile sites nationwide.

During the live speed test demo, Globe mobile 4G registered a download speed of 7.51Mbps and an upload speed of 1.02 Mbps, while Globe Tattoo got a 2.55 Mbps download speed and 0.34 Mbps upload speed. On the other hand, Smart obtained 1.12 Mbps download speed and 0.34 Mbps upload speed, while Sun got a download speed of 0.83 Mbps and an upload speed of 0.09 Mbps.

“We really think the growth will come from consumers who use the Internet more than ever. This is simply because the prices of smart phones are going down. An example of this is the Android phone, which is a full-featured device that can do email, browsing and of course download applications, all in one device. Filipinos are known to use the Internet quite a bit, with the growing number of social networking users because people want to be connected all the time. And the best way to do that is through mobile devices,” said Ernest Cu, president and CEO of Globe Telecom.

With an investment amounting to $500 million this year, Globe will concentrate in expanding its 4G network and services, while continuing to strengthen its 3G offerings.

Since 2009 Globe has already established over 1,500 4G WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) sites in nearly 60 provinces across the Philippines, covering 365 cities, including Manila, Caloocan, Cainta, Antipolo, Taytay, Plaridel, Cabanatuan, Dasmarinas, Bacoor, Imus, Tanza, Calamba, Batangas City, Cebu City, Cagayan De Oro, and Zamboanga.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Smart sees still untapped Internet market

Although the Philippines already has a mature and active Internet user group, only 30% of the country’s 95 million total population has Internet connectivity.

So, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) aims to reach the remaining 70 percent, especially the low-income groups in far flung areas across the archipelago, via a P12,795 tablet PC - the ZTE V9.

Tablets have surged in popularity since 2010 because of its high mobility and its possibilities in changing the Internet, information and media landscapes. Some 17.6 million tablet were sold globally last year, outnumbering laptops and netbooks the former bestsellers, according to research firm Gartner.

With the emergence of several low-cost models, 69.5 million tablet PCs will be sold this year. Smart was the first telco to introduce the tablet in the country with the Samsung Galaxy Tab fully powered with network and data services.

Now, the telco has lauched the ZTE V9 is a 7-inch Android 2.2-powered tablet being bundled with Smart Bro the wireless Internet service of its affiliate, Smart Broadband, Inc.

Initially being offered for prepaid subscription, the ZTE V9 combines the Internet experience of desktops and laptops with the convenience and portability of Internet-capable mobile phones and is payable in 6 monthly instalments, interest-free.

“Many Filipinos still access the Internet mainly through Internet cafes and work or school computers. With low-cost Internet devices such as this, we aim to increase the country’s Internet population, by enabling more people to easily have their own personal Internet access device,” explained Orlando B. Vea, Smart’s Chief Wireless Advisor.

Smart expects Smart Bro to revolutionize the way subscribers use data services through the ZTE V9. Because the tablet is powered by Android OS, ZTE V9 owners can easily customize and make their tablet more relevant to their needs and preferences with downloadable applications or apps.

These apps, thousands of which are available in the Android Market, can expand the tablet’s functionalities with various information, connectivity, social networking, gaming and multimedia services, all supported by Smart Bro’s connectivity. These apps will also make it easier for Smart to deploy future data-driven services direct to its subscribers.

But aside from its data-centric features, Smart Bro Prepaid subscribers using the ZTE V9 may also use their Smart Bro account to access the tablet’s SMS and voice call functionalities.

Other key features of the ZTE V9 include a 3.0 MP camera, WiFi, USB connectivity, built-in apps such as multimedia player, maps, YouTube, e-mail and more, and storage memory expandable up to 32GB.

With the launch of the ZTE V9 and with other affordable tablets and smartphones coming soon, Smart officials are confident that they will be able to capture new subscribers especially for their broadband services.

Subscriber can pay for their ZTE V9 in installments at 0% interest through participating credit cards. It comes with a Smart Bro prepaid SIM with 5 days of unlimited Internet browsing. Subscribers may then register the Smart Bro prepaid account to avail of Unlisurf Packages, Per Minute Packages, or All Text Packages.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Asian Hospital and Medical Center introduces first wireless and non-sedative ABR machine

Providing innovative and world-class healthcare service, Asian Hospital and Medical Center introduces the Vivosonic Integrity, the first wireless and non-sedative ABR machine to the Philippines.

Standard ABR (auditory brainstem response) machines required patients to be sedated or be put under general anesthesia as accuracy and reliability depend on very minimal ambient noise. It is these machines that allow for effective and thorough evaluation of auditory brainstem responses to detect any tumors that may affect hearing.

With the Vivosonic Integrity, patients need not be put to sleep or sedated and can be done even in the presence of noise. Without the need for medication or special equipment, an audiologist can easily do ABR on an awake and active child in any hospital environment. It is also wireless, making it portable and easy to maneuver during testing, especially of active children.

With the availability of this machine, Asian Hospital expects improved patient care as it eliminates risks associated with anesthesia while ensuring quality hearing healthcare in the country. Patients will also find it beneficial that the Integrity machine offers safe, accurate and inexpensive diagnosis of hearing conditions.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

It?s not about who?s first but who?s better!

The telecoms industry have always been slugging it out in terms of “price wars”. Sometimes, they’d also do the same in the technology front and being the first of anything new is always considered a prized trophy. Globe and Smart (and Sun, pre-PLDT acquisition) have been like that for years.

Who was the first one to offer WAP again? What about mobile TV? Or 3G? How about WiMax? Now the talk of the town is LTE.

Frankly, I don’t care. I think most customers would not care. After seeing what happened to their 3G/3.5G roll-out and the big promises of their WiMax, it all feels like just mere war of words. Ask any customer if they feel their brand new, hi-tech network connection has improved their internet experience.

From a Corp Comm perspective, being first is nice — it gets you a lot of good publicity (and avoids being called a “me too” competitor) and it’s good for the year-end corporate report (not to mention pogi points to the shareholders).

From a marketing perspective, it’s also good since you get the first-mover advantage and you get support from 3rd party manufacturers and service providers ahead as well.

Lastly, the good news helps divert attention away from existing issues such as bandwidth capping. Wait, what capping?

For us customers, the bottom line is all about “good service” (set aside pricing first). What good use is a technology that promises up to 50Mbps when one cannot even get a decent connection on the existing 2Mbps line? No new technology can guarantee good customer service.

We discussed this in detail during the time when the hot topic what about bandwidth capping and throttling. If those 2Mbps mobile subscriptions are being shared by an allocated number of subscribers, the factorial could still be the same for a 50Mbps connection. If they’d share 10 subs on a 2Mbps line, then it’s not surprising if they’d share 250 subs on the 50Mbps line. Same 5 is to 1 ratio (I’m just throwing theoretical numbers here). But that’s how “bandwidth provisioning” is done so we’ll just have to deal with it.

How about lowering the “sharing ratio” (or making the bandwidth provisioning more efficient)? How about offering more affordable “up to” DSL plans? How about pushing your current 3.5G network to serve up to 7.2Mbps instead of the measly 2Mbps that’s now in place. At least, even if I don’t get the full 7.2Mbps, a 50% efficiency will still get me a solid 3.6Mbps connection.

Being first can only get you so far. What use is being first when you cannot sustain customer confidence, good quality service (QoS) and uphold a fair policy (can’t even downgrade my 7-year old PLDT line without paying a Php10k downgrade fee). But then again, that’s how our telcos roll.

Globe launches 4G mobile: First to roll out 4G mobile technology in the Philippines

In a Philippine first, Globe announces a major expansion of its current 4G footprint by becoming the first carrier in the Philippines to launch the commercial roll out of 4G mobile technology. This rollout, the first phase of which utilizes the global standard HSPA+ or Evolved High-Speed Packet Access, will complement Globe Telecom’s existing 4G WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) network. The rollout of Globe 4G mobile network will provide its subscribers high speed broadband access with the added convenience of full mobility.

To date, Globe 4G mobile technology has been deployed covering sites across Metro Manila, which includes Marikina, Quezon City, Makati, Pasay, Las Pinas, Taguig and the City of Manila. By end-2011, Globe expects to increase its 4G presence dramatically with continued expansion planned into 2012.

Ernest Cu, President and CEO of Globe Telecom said, “Globe is again pioneering innovation in the Philippines. With the uptake in broadband both on mobile and through other devices, customers want faster broadband in more places. Globe is continuously looking for ways to improve our network infrastructure to meet the demand for quality services. In 2009, we were the first carrier to launch 4G through our WiMax network. Today, we extend our leadership by taking 4G mobile. With our high speed broadband rollout, Globe will continue to lead in customer experience by giving our subscribers better, faster, and more reliable broadband connections on their phone, laptop, PC or tablet.”

Globe will be complementing this launch shortly through the announcement of a suite of new multimedia services, 4G devices and offers for customers to enjoy.

Globe is already the first and largest 4G network in the country. Since April 2009, Globe has aggressively pursued plans to establish its 4G footprint in the country with industry leading availability of WiMAX. As the country’s 4G pioneer, with one of the largest WiMAX deployments in Southeast Asia, Globe has already made 4G available in over 1,500 sites in nearly 60 provinces across the Philippines, covering 365 cities, including Manila, Caloocan, Cainta, Antipolo, Taytay, Plaridel, Cabanatuan, Dasmarinas, Bacoor, Imus, Tanza, Calamba, Batangas City, Cebu City, Cagayan De Oro, and Zamboanga.

About 4G and HSPA+

HSPA+, or Evolved High-Speed Packet Access, is a 4G wireless, mobile, high speed broadband technology that allows for peak theoretical download speeds of up to 21 Mbps with upgradeability for 84Mbps. With HSPA+ technology, subscribers will experience high peak rates, lower latency, improved “always-on experience”, better multimedia upload, high-speed web browsing, and faster streaming and downloads. Under Globe HSPA+ network, subscribers are expected to enjoy browsing at an average speed of 4-6 Mbps with even faster peak speeds. HSPA+ is the chosen mobile 4G standard for other carriers globally including AT&T and T-mobile in the US.

Other technologies in the 4G category include Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) as rated by the International Telecommunication Union. The ITU is the leading United Nations agency for information and communication technology issues and establishes worldwide standards for seamless global interconnection.

In November 2010, Globe also completed field trials of another 4G standard, 3GPP Long Term Evolution (commonly known as LTE) wireless technology together with the SingTel Group and NEC Corporation. The field trial verified a variety of LTE functions such as quality of service; latency and hand-over within urban areas were tested as these are required for commercial use of the technology.

Smart to offer mobile LTE up to 6Mbps

The details are still sketchy but an insider has tipped us that Smart Communications will be launching mobile LTE (3GPP Long Term Evolution) this week with promised speeds of up to 6Mbps per subscriber.

Back in November 2010, Globe demonstrated their mobile LTE with maximum speeds of up to 60Mbps (see story here). Now, it’s Smart’s turn to offer LTE to the public (they also did field tests back in November, about two weeks after Globe did theirs).

3GPP Long Term Evolution (LTE), is the latest standard in the mobile network technology tree that produced the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies. It is a project of the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP).

The LTE specification provides downlink peak rates of at least 100 Mbps, an uplink of at least 50 Mbps and RAN round-trip times of less than 10 ms. (source: wikipedia)

Unlike the current 3G networks that all of the telcos provide, LTE has a much higher bandwidth capacity so this could help solve the congestion problem (read: slow 3G connections) a lot of the customers are experiencing right now. It’s not clear how their new LTE offering will position against the current 3G network.

LTE USB dongles will be provided (just like the Smart Plug-It dongles they currently offer) for customers to hook up to the service and corresponding monthly service fees have not yet been revealed.

While LTE can easily do between 50Mbps to 100Mbps, they’ll only offer retail subscriptions between 4Mbps to 6Mbps to customers. I’d expect competitive pricing of these subscription to range from Php1,200 to Php2,000.

More on this as we get the details.

They’re calling it Smart Evolution.

Public demo will be done in Boracay from April 21 – 24.

Smart's increased data capacity to benefit users

Smart Communications Inc. has expanded its capacity to carry voice, broadband data and video traffic by 31 percent after enhancing its fiber optic network last year.

In 2010, Smart extended its fiber optic cable network, further augmenting the reach and resiliency of parent company Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.’s Domestic Fiber Optic Network (DFON).

These enhancements, coupled with Smart’s extensive microwave network, make Smart and PLDT the country’s widest and most pervasive communications transmission network.

Smart’s microwave network is utilized to reach remote areas such as Tawi-Tawi in the south to Batanes in the north. On the west side, it reaches Palawan from Batangas in Luzon and from Panay Island in the Visayas.

Aside from serving as an aggregate node to carry traffic to the nearest fiber-optic node, microwave radios are also used as alternate routes for the critical circuits passing through the major fiber-optic networks.

PLDT’s DFON currently spans 10,050 kilometers, connecting 68 nodes and equipped with a total network bandwidth capacity of 1.56 terabytes or the capability of accommodating a total of 24 million simultaneous voice calls or additional capacity of four million DSL connections.

Smart’s improvements resulted in additional capacity for its wireless broadband subscribers in the cities of Baguio and Candon and the province of Laguna in Luzon, the cities of Bacolod and Iloilo in the Visayas, and the cities of Tagum, General Santos and Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao.

The installation of additional fiber optic cables, from the PLDT/Smart backbone network down to the base transceiver stations, is expected to provide greater bandwidth to consumers accessing large chunks of data from the Internet via fixed and mobile devices.

The enhancements not only supply additional capacity for mainstream voice and SMS services, but should also enable a richer multimedia experience, faster Internet browsing and video streaming.

To date, major backbone areas with both high-capacity fiber optics and high-capacity microwave network cover Regions 1 and 2, Baguio to Bulacan, Bicol region, Panay to Negros to Cebu, Zamboanga to Ozamiz and Cagayan de Oro to Davao up to General Santos City.

The aggressive deployment and expansion of fiber optic networks is in line with Smart’s thrust to lead the Filipino mobile phone users’ shift to Internet-capable smartphones in large numbers over the next two to three years.

Smart is introducing an array of smartphones and tablets, led by its “Netphone,” as well as low-cost Internet service packages in the next few months.

At the same time, the company will further beef up its cellular data network in anticipation of the growing volume of mobile data.

As a result, the PLDT Group is expected to raise its capital expenditures to over P30 billion this year.

Globe, Digitel, Bayantel now interconnected

The networks of Globe Telecom, Bayan Telecommunications (BayanTel) and Digitel Telecommunications Philippines (Digitel) are now 100% interconnected in all areas of common presence and operations nationwide, following the commercial activation of the local linkage between the networks of Globe and Digitel in Lucena City and the rest of Quezon province.

The achievement of full interconnection between Globe, Digitel and Bayantel in all areas of common operations is a mandate from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), in compliance with Republic Act 7925, or The Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995. The law aims to create a universally accessible and fully integrated nationwide telecommunications network to encourage more infrastructure investments from the private sector that benefit consumers.

Interconnected telecommunication network means that in areas where Globe, Digitel or Bayantel are present, customers of the competing telcos within a province or city can call each other locally via 7-digit local dialing without having to pay long distance rates. In the past, subscribers of rival telcos, regardless of whether or not they live in the same town, had to pay long-distance rates to call each other via landline.

“This is another milestone not only for Globe, Bayantel and Digitel, but more importantly for the public who will benefit from the interconnection,” said Melvin Santos, Head for National Carrier Relations of Globe Telecom, “Competition should not get in the way of serving the public interest and we have proven that even rival telcos can work together for the greater good.”

Globe and Digitel have established interconnection in common operation areas in the National Capital Region and in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Bataan, Lucena, Sorsogon, Ilocos Sur, Nueva Vizcaya, and Zambales. On the other hand, Globe and Bayantel are both present in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Iloilo, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Negros Occidental, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Globe slams PLDT for failure to interconnect

As Globe Telecom announced that it is now fully interconnected nationwide with Bayan Telecommunications and Digitel, the Ayala-owned operator rebuked main rival PLDT for failing to fulfill its obligation to fully interconnect with its competitors.

To date, both Globe and PLDT are locally interconnected only in Davao City, Batangas, Cavite, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, and Cotabato City.

The two companies’ networks are not yet interconnected in at least 20 more provinces where both have commercial operations, including the provinces of Pampanga, La Union and Benguet.

Earlier, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and the provincial board of Pampanga announced that PLDT and Globe will implement the interconnection of its networks in the province on April 15, 2011.

“We’ve always been ready and waiting to interconnect our network with all our competitors,” said Froilan Castelo, head of the corporate and legal services group of Globe.

After completing its nationwide interconnection with Digitel and BayanTel, Globe said is hopeful that interconnection agreements with PLDT will be hastened for the benefit of the consumers as part of efforts to develop the country’s telecommunications infrastructure and provide consumers with a more cost-efficient way of communications.

The networks of Globe, Bayan, and Digitel are now 100 percent interconnected in all areas of common presence and operations nationwide, following the commercial activation of the local linkage between the networks of Globe and Digitel in Lucena City and the rest of Quezon province.

The achievement of full interconnection between Globe, Digitel and Bayantel in all areas of common operations is a mandate from the NTC, in compliance with Republic Act 7925, or The Public Telecommunications Policy Act of 1995.

The law aims to create a universally accessible and fully integrated nationwide telecommunications network to encourage more infrastructure investments from the private sector that benefit consumers.

Interconnected telecommunication network means that in areas where Globe, Digitel or Bayantel are present, customers of the competing telcos within a province or city can call each other locally via 7-digit local dialing without having to pay long distance rates.

In the past, subscribers of rival telcos, regardless of whether or not they live in the same town, had to pay long-distance rates to call each other via landline.

“This is another milestone not only for Globe, Bayan and Digitel, but more importantly for the public who will benefit from the interconnection,” said Melvin Santos, head for national carrier relations of Globe Telecom.

“Competition should not get in the way of serving the public interest and we have proven that even rival telcos can work together for the greater good.”

Globe and Digitel have established interconnection in common operation areas in the National Capital Region and in the provinces of Camarines Norte, Bataan, Lucena, Sorsogon, Ilocos Sur, Nueva Vizcaya, and Zambales.

On the other hand, Globe and Bayantel are both present in the National Capital Region and the provinces of Iloilo, Cebu, Eastern Samar, Negros Occidental, Leyte, Southern Leyte, Misamis Oriental, Agusan del Norte, Davao del Sur, South Cotabato, Albay, Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur and Sorsogon.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Mandaluyong deploys first wave of ?e-trikes?

President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III on Wednesday transferred 20 Asian Development Bank (ADB)-funded electric tricycles (e-trikes) to the City of Mandaluyong, marking an important first step towards a sustainable, energy-efficient transport model for the country.

Pres. Aquino tries out the e-trike along with Mandaluyong City mayor Benhur Abalos

Emissions from the transport sector currently represent 30-percent of all pollution in the country, and approximately 80 percent of air pollution in Metro Manila. A sizeable proportion of vehicle emissions are attributable to inefficient public transport, particularly from tricycles, jeepneys, and buses.

The 20 e-trikes are part of an ADB-funded project to introduce energy-efficient transportation alternatives in the Philippines. ADB is currently in discussions with the government and other development partners on a proposed project to significantly scale up the rollout of energy efficient e-trikes in Manila and other urban areas as early as 2012.

“Working together, we can give Manila cleaner air, bluer skies, and a more livable environment,” said Kunio Senga, director general of ADB’s Southeast Asia Department.

“The Philippines is assuming a leading role in Asia in supporting green transportation alternatives, and if e-trikes are followed by new fleets of electric buses and jeepneys, the effect could be transformative.”

Over 3.5 million motorized tricycles are currently operating in the Philippines, producing more than 10 million tons of carbon dioxide and using close to $5 billion of imported fuel each year.

Motorized tricycles — which are motorcycles with sidecars — are popularly used as low-cost public transport for short distances.

“Every 20,000 e-trikes that are introduced to Manila’s streets will save the Philippines 100,000 liters of foreign fuel imports each day, saving the country about $35 million annually,” said ADB’s principal energy specialist Sohail Hasnie.

“This initiative not only benefits the environment, but it also supports the Philippines drive to become more energy independent.”

The e-trike hits the road alongside a conventional tricycle.

Though the new e-trikes have higher up-front costs, older petrol tricycles are more than twice as expensive to operate and maintain in the long run. The cost savings will directly increase the incomes of e-trike operators.

The new ADB-supported e-trikes use lithium ion batteries, commonly used in laptop computers and mobile phones. The batteries can be recharged approximately 2,000 times, in contrast to lead acid batteries used in older e-trike models that need to be replaced every two years.

A recently concluded phase-one ADB pilot project demonstrated that the Philippines has the local manufacturing capacity and technical skills base to build and maintain a large e-trike fleet. Once thousands of e-trikes begin to be manufactured, many new jobs could be created.

Factoring in electricity required for charging the batteries, the e-trikes’ carbon footprint will be less than one quarter of petroleum-fueled tricycles’ carbon dioxide emissions.

As part of the pilot project, ADB will install four charging stations in Mandaluyong City, which will be able to charge the e-trike batteries to 50 percent capacity in less than 30 minutes. One of the charging stations will use solar energy.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Mga Madlang Davaoenos may promo ang GLOBE Prepaid exclusively for Davao. Ito ang SUPERLAHAT20. Ang 20pesos mo may UNLITEXT to Globe/TM + 100 minutes call to Globe/TM + 1 hour mobile Internet + 5 international texts. Just text SUPERLAHAT20 to 8888. Go Lang ng go! Globe Lang ng Globe!

Globe launches Facebook service

Filipinos who can’t stand five minutes without checking their Facebook accounts now have a way to stay connected with their “friends” at a cheaper cost.

Globe Telecom Inc. announced in a statement the launch of its Super Facebook service, allowing users to enjoy their favorite social networking site on their mobile phones at a very affordable rate.

Exclusive to Globe prepaid subscribers, Globe Super Facebook is a mobile surfing plan that allows subscribers to surf on Facebook on their mobile phones for five straight hours for only P10.

The new service is part of the company’s efforts to increase the usage of Internet services with mobile phones.

This means that Globe Super Facebook users can enjoy Facebook for only P2 an hour. To access Facebook on their mobile phones, subscribers can open their mobile browsers and key in, the company said.

“As one of the most popular social networking sites in the world today, Facebook continues to evolve to provide its users with a slew of interesting features,” Globe portfolio management head Joanna Africa said.

“Through this offer, we have brought the popularity of Facebook to our subscribers’ mobile phones, making it more convenient for them to truly enjoy Facebook, their way,” she said.

To register for the service, Globe prepaid subscribers can text SUPERFB10 to 8888. A maintaining balance of P1 is required to enjoy the service.

Meanwhile, users who surf Facebook from time to time can subscribe to Globe PowerSurf, which is a consumable mobile surfing plan. Globe PowerSurf allows users to surf and stop as they wish and have full control on how they use their mobile Internet minutes.

Globe launches Facebook service

Filipinos who can’t stand five minutes without checking their Facebook accounts now have a way to stay connected with their “friends” at a cheaper cost.

Globe Telecom Inc. announced in a statement the launch of its Super Facebook service, allowing users to enjoy their favorite social networking site on their mobile phones at a very affordable rate.

Exclusive to Globe prepaid subscribers, Globe Super Facebook is a mobile surfing plan that allows subscribers to surf on Facebook on their mobile phones for five straight hours for only P10.

The new service is part of the company’s efforts to increase the usage of Internet services with mobile phones.

This means that Globe Super Facebook users can enjoy Facebook for only P2 an hour. To access Facebook on their mobile phones, subscribers can open their mobile browsers and key in, the company said.

“As one of the most popular social networking sites in the world today, Facebook continues to evolve to provide its users with a slew of interesting features,” Globe portfolio management head Joanna Africa said.

“Through this offer, we have brought the popularity of Facebook to our subscribers’ mobile phones, making it more convenient for them to truly enjoy Facebook, their way,” she said.

To register for the service, Globe prepaid subscribers can text SUPERFB10 to 8888. A maintaining balance of P1 is required to enjoy the service.

Meanwhile, users who surf Facebook from time to time can subscribe to Globe PowerSurf, which is a consumable mobile surfing plan. Globe PowerSurf allows users to surf and stop as they wish and have full control on how they use their mobile Internet minutes.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Smart Bro Prepaid Lifestyle

Enjoy more surfing time with Smart Bro Prepaid Lifestyle! Maximize your load and get better surfing rates!

* Prepaid Lifestyle P250 – 15 hrs valid for 12 days. 28cents/min!
* Prepaid Lifestyle P350 – 25 hrs valid for 18 days. 23cents/min!
* Prepaid Lifestyle P450 – 35 hrs valid for 25days. 21cents/min!

Just text PL250, PL350 or PL450 to 2200 from your SmartBro account.


Sa TNT SangkatuTEX, mas marami kang texts sa TNT at SMART! Mas marami, mas sulit! P15 (200 texts, valid for 2 days), P30 (450 texts, valid for 4 days), P60 (1000 texts, valid for 7 days). Para magregister, itext ang STEX15, STEX30 o STEX60 sa 4545! Mag-maintain ng P1 load. Available din sa eload. Promo ends September 30, 2011.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

TM rolls out ?unli? all-network text offer in GenSan

Globe Telecom’s mass market brand TM has launched an offer exclusive to subscribers in General Santos City that allows them to send unlimited text messages to all networks nationwide.

The AstigUnliTextAll is said to be the first and only offer of its kind now for TM subscribers in GenSan. For P15 per day, users can send unlimited text messages to any mobile subscriber – may it be Smart, Sun, Globe, TM, Talk ‘n Text or Red Mobile.

To avail of the service, TM subscribers in GenSan can register by texting AstigUnliTextAll to 8888.

“TM AstigUnliTextAll is another pioneering offer from TM which lets our subscribers stay connected without having to worry about costs, limitations, or restrictions. There are inter-network text offers available in the market today but they are not unlimited. With TM AstigUnliTextAll our TM subscribers in GenSan can enjoy the benefits of unlimited text messaging to all networks while giving them the best value everyday,” said Winsley Bangit, head of TM activations.

The TM brand holds a commanding 45-percent market share in General Santos City.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

PSE puts PLDT on trading halt on Digitel deal

The Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday imposed a trading halt on shares of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) until 10 a.m. after the telecom firm disclosed more details about a major acquisition deal.

The exchange said PLDT had submitted a comprehensive disclosure in connection with the possible additional listing of PLDT shares to be issued as payment for its acquisition of a controlling stake in Digital Telecommunications Philippines Inc. (Digitel).

Top telco PLDT announced last week it would acquire a 51.55% stake in No. 3 player Digitel from the latter's parent, JG Summit Holdings Inc., and certain other Digitel shareholders.

PLDT would also make a mandatory tender offer to other shareholders, which would increase the value of the deal to $1.7 billion assuming a full acceptance.

On Wednesday the telecom firm said PLDT shares would be issued to Digitel shareholders JG Summit, Express Holdings Inc., Solid Finance (Holdings) Ltd., and Elizabeth Yu Gokongwei, as well as to other shareholders who will participate in the mandatory tender offer.

Shares of PLDT closed 2% lower at P2,352 on Tuesday.

Monday, April 4, 2011

ABS-CBN to Launch 5 New Premium Channels on Free-to-Air TV

ABS-CBN presents the future of television!

The future of television looks bright and clear as ABS-CBN is ready to launch five new premium channels on free-to-air TV via Digital Television (DTV), a high-tech standard that uses digital signals for broadcast.

DTV occupies lesser space in the frequency so that a single TV station can broadcast on more than one channel, giving viewers more programs options. The new channels that ABS-CBN will unveil will cater to different audiences. The new channels to be made available include 2 channels for kids, a channel for the youth, a channel for dads and a channel for moms.

DTV also produces better picture and sound compared to the prevailing analog system. The digital TV viewing experience is comparable to seeing a movie on DVD. This spells more excitement for the viewers. Thus, climatic moments like the bus explosion in “Mula Sa Puso” or the kidnap scene in “Mara Clara” become more heart-pounding when seen on DTV. Musical numbers on “ASAP XV” are captured in more colorful detail. News on “TV Patrol” is delivered in crisper sound.

According to Miguel Mercado, ABS-CBN DTV Head of Marketing, viewers need not wait long because ABS-CBN is ready to launch DTV operations within the year. He said the company is just waiting for the final go-signal from the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC).

“With Philippine broadcasting companies going digital, the viewing public will be able to enjoy digital quality viewing in any TV as DTV addresses the issues of poor reception, grainy pictures and choppy audio,” says Mercado.

Upon the purchase of an affordably priced DTV Digibox to be connected to the television set, viewers will be able to enjoy the five new channels for free, in addition to all existing channels broadcasting in digital. By time ABS-CBN DTV is launched, this list will include Channel 2, Studio 23, GEM TV and NBN.

ABS-CBN expects other broadcasters to follow suit since the NTC has directed the local television industry to make a complete transition to digital by 2015. NTC’s mandate will certainly benefit the general public as it puts the Philippines at par with the international standard. DTV is the system followed in the U.S., Japan, Australia, South Korea and most of Europe.

ABS-CBN has been preparing for the switchover since 2007. Recently, the network conducted DTV trials in more than 1,000 households all over the Philippines. Participants responded very positively.

A 37-year old dad said, “Mas malinaw at maraming pagpipiliang channels. Mas masaya kaming manonood ng pamilya ko.” A 26-year old female employee said, “Mas malinaw ang picture at sound,” while a 67-year old grandmother replied, “Mas maraming channels na puwedeng panooran na siguradong ikatutuwa ng buong pamilya.”

Moreover, the viewers expressed willingness to buy the DTV Digibox (which costs only as much as a DVD player) so that they could get the new channels for free. As one mother cited, “Wala ng monthly fee. One time ang pagbabayad. Magugustuhan ng anak ko.”

Globe moves to cap Internet data volume

Without any law to prevent its adoption, Ayala-led telco Globe Telecom has decided to invoke the “fair use” doctrine in imposing data limits on the broadband subscription of its customer as a way to curb unrestrained use of just a few broadband users.

Globe’s move, first reported by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, was contained in a press statement issued by the company over the weekend.

By putting a cap on the data volume of its broadband users, Globe said it can “promote a more responsible way of using the Internet that will ensure fair and optimum usage of its broadband services across all subscribers.”

In a recent analysis, Globe said only 5 percent use 80 percent of the available broadband network bandwidth, leaving only 20 percent of the capacity to be shared by 95 percent of the remaining users.

The data volume limit, according to the Inquirer, “would affect only users who download data in excess of 1 gigabyte a day.”

The issue on data volume capping remains a contentious topic in the industry, with local telcos pushing the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to impose it as a formal regulatory rule.

The agency, however, has already announced that it will not include any provision on data capping on a circular it is currently drafting on the minimum broadband speed in the country.

This is not the first time, however, that a broadband provider has adopted a data usage ceiling. San Miguel-owned Liberty Telecoms, which operates wi-tribe, has been offering WiMax services that have data limits. Lopez-owned firm SkyBroadband also recently rolled out a 5-Mbps Internet offering with 15-GB threshold.

Saying network bandwidth is a finite resource, Globe said “it is necessary to adopt a policy that promotes responsible and fair use of the Internet to prevent abuse and misuse of services from a relatively smaller group of consumers.”

“Moreover, the policy aims to preserve the quality of resources in order to provide subscribers with seamless, uninterrupted, and reliable internet connections,” it added. “This also ensures consistency and reliability of connection for use of the greater majority of broadband subscribers.”

Globe cited study done by Envisional which showed that close to 36 percent of torrent downloads was pornography and another 48 percent was movies and television shows.

The study further claimed that 23.8 percent of global Internet traffic is piracy-related and nearly one-quarter of the traffic on the Internet involves the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials such as movies, TV shows, music, and video games.

“These activities, apart from being unsecured, also utilize a significant amount of broadband network data which prohibits other subscribers to enjoy the same quality of Internet connection,” the company said.

In the statement, Globe said it has partnered with a parenting group MLAC Institute for Children and Families to educate parents on how to guide their children on the proper use of Internet and computers.

“Because it is our responsibility to provide our subscribers with quality Internet services, we are doing all we can to teach our broadband users how to properly use the internet,” stated Jurist Gamban, head of globe fixed broadband business.

Gamban added, “Through this forum, we are actively involving the parents in guiding their children when they access the World Wide Web. We are concerned about how children are exposed to various Internet activities, from downloads, playing games, to watching videos and doing social networking and chatting.

Without restrictions, the Internet can be a source of information not suited for children, or worse, might pose risks that will threaten their minds and own security, Gamban said.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

PLDT: We?ll maintain Sun?s unli services

Sun Cellular will continue to offer unli voice and text services even after PLDT completes its investment in Digitel Inc., Sun’s parent company, PLDT President and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno said in a statement.

“Our intention is to maintain Sun’s current offers and further improve them. One clear opportunity is mobile broadband,” Nazareno said.

“Leveraging the combined networks of PLDT, Smart and Sun, we plan to expand the reach and raise the quality of mobile broadband services for Sun subscribers. This is in line with our Internet for All advocacy.”

Some quarters had raised concerns that PLDT’s investment into Digitel would lead to the end of Sun’s unli offers.

“That’s not going to happen. There is a market for unli services and we intend to be the best in serving that market,” Nazareno said.

“Over the next three months, we shall study further Digitel’s operations and networks. This will enable us to draw up specific plans in order to realize the synergies between PLDT, Smart and Digitel,” Nazareno said.

Earlier this week, top officials of PLDT and JG Summit Inc. had signed an agreement under which PLDT will acquire JG Summit’s shareholdings and other economic interests in Digitel for the sum of P69.2 billion.

PLDT will also undertake a mandatory tender offer for the remaining common shares of Digitel held by minority shareholders. This could raise the total transaction price up to P74.1 billion.

Payment would be done in the form of PLDT shares valued at P2,500 each.

To complete the transaction, PLDT needs to obtain regulatory as well as shareholder approvals in a process that it hopes to finish in the next three months.

End of unlimited calls, texts feared

The return of telecom duopoly in the country can shore up profits for leading players Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Globe Telecom and may spell cutbacks in the industry’s offering of unlimited voice and text messaging services to consumers, lawmakers said Wednesday.

PLDT recently signed a share-swap deal that will allow it to take majority control of Gokongwei-led Digital Telecommunications, whose cheap services through the Sun Cellular brand have gnawed sharply at the profitability of traditional leaders PLDT and Globe Telecom.

The stellar rise in the stock prices of PLDT and Globe Telecom after the deal was announced indicated a growing perception that with Digitel now out of the way, the two companies can now collect higher prices for their services.

In one of the internal memos issued by Globe management to employees when the PLDT-Digitel deal was announced on Tuesday, the Ayala-led telecom unit said one potentially good outcome was that “PLDT is seen to carry the cost of bringing rationality back to the market by paying for this acquisition and that Globe is seen to benefit from it as profitability remains in a more stable and consolidated market.”

Another internal Globe memo obtained by the Philippine Daily Inquirer said: “We might find ourselves competing in a more rational marketplace with better margins as the new opposition could decide to scale back on the unlimited propositions that undermine industry.”

Consumers worried

Consumers are indeed now concerned over what the deal might mean for Sun Cellular’s unlimited and bucket-priced call and text services that the public enjoys.

Sun Cellular introduced unlimited call and text services for fixed monthly fees into the Philippine market, forcing its competitors—Smart of PLDT and Globe Telecom—to follow suit, resulting in lower profits.

“The fear of the public is whether PLDT—that used to oppose unlimited services—might change the brand Sun and everything it stands for,” said Antonio Cruz, president of consumer group TxtPower.

Goodbye to price wars

Technology blogger Abe Olandres of said the competition between companies, which results in innovation to users, would suffer. “Say goodbye to the price wars (though not really entirely gone). From being a three-way contest, it’s now down to two—PLDT vs. Globe,” he said.

But subscribers may also benefit from the optimization of the two companies’ combined networks, Olandres said. “Big is good for business, but when big becomes bad or monopolistic, that’s what consumers fear,” Cruz said.

Cruz added that the public deserved better services and reduced prices as a result of the deal. “The PLDT-Digitel deal, it is hoped, should improve the Philippines’ standing in terms of Internet service pricing in Southeast Asia,” he said.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Teodoro Casiño said he was worried that Sun Cellular’s innovative strategies that helped reduce the cost of services, like unlimited call and text plans and lower rates, would be reversed. “The public has to be wary of potential monopoly practices resulting from this takeover,” Casiño said.

“If this PLDT buyout threatens the economy, puts the interest of the general public in peril, and intimidates an otherwise competitive environment in the telecom business, then perhaps it must be evaluated,” said Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo.

Castelo said Congress should look into the terms of the buyout because PLDT practically acquired a big market share by “killing a strong competitor.”

Pass antitrust law

Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez said PLDT’s purchase of Digitel had made it more urgent for Congress to pass an antitrust law to keep markets competitive and prevent the formation of cartels or monopolies.

“We have to rush the enactment of an antitrust law to determine if the purchase is meant to curtail competition,” said Benitez in a text message.

Insensitivity to complaints

Eastern Samar Rep. Benjamin Evardone was worried that consumer complaints on the poor quality of service and the telephone companies’ insensitivity to complaints would worsen.

“As it is, there are already mounting consumer complaints such as overbilling and dropped calls that are not being addressed by the telcos. This should prod the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to intensify its monitoring over the industry players to prevent abuses,” said Evardone.

Pangilinan assurance

During the official announcement of the PLDT-Digitel deal on Tuesday, PLDT chair Manuel V. Pangilinan said the operations would remain separate from each other. PLDT has assured subscribers of both mobile brands Smart Communications and Sun Cellular that they would continue to enjoy the same quality of service at the same price.

As a result of the deal, PLDT will be in control of most of the franchises for cellular mobile telephone service in the country.

70% market share

PLDT will also end up with three of the four third-generation or 3G licenses, which companies use to offer mobile broadband services.

TxtPower’s Cruz said the government, particularly the NTC, should ensure that the new PLDT and Sun network would not eventually monopolize the country’s telecom sector.

With the deal, PLDT is expected to have a 70-percent market share in the country’s competitive telecom industry both in terms of revenue and subscribers. Globe Telecom has the remaining 30 percent.

With the PLDT group now controlling the bulk of the market, the pricing power of Globe Telecom has just weakened, said Campos Lanuza & Co. head of research Jose Mari Lacson.

“Selling Globe may be a possibility now if the Ayala Group wants to extract the remaining value in the company. They may also opt to fight it out, but that will require extra resources, which they or their partner, Singapore Telecom, may not be willing to shell out just yet,” Lacson said.

NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba declined to comment on the deal, saying that the regulator had yet to receive an application to approve the PLDT buyout. The NTC’s green light is required because a franchise given by Congress will change hands.

Challenge to San Miguel

San Miguel Corp. (SMC), which aims to be a major telecom player after forging a joint venture with Qatar Telecom to launch the Wi-Tribe brand, thinks the industry still has space for a third strong player.

“SMC is now in full-swing to build a brand new mobile broadband network that will be robust and reliable. Our network will address voice and data capacity, which we all know is very much congested resulting in rampant dropped calls and slow data speeds,” San Miguel president Ramon S. Ang said.

“Be a little more patient, our services will soon make a huge difference,” he added.

Analyst Lacson said SMC would be affected both positively and negatively by the deal. “The negative is that Liberty will have a tougher time now that the market space just became smaller for the telecom contenders. With its strategic direction currently uncertain given the loss of its top executive [Anastacio Martirez], we wonder how Liberty will try to position itself in this new environment.

“The positive, however, is that San Miguel’s financial strength has increased relative to its perceived rival, First Pacific/PLDT Group. First Pacific has given up a sizable chunk of its equity in the PLDT Group, which weakens its balance sheet to a degree,” Lacson said.


Blog Archive