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 Yugatech.com 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.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Fedora 15 vs. Ubuntu 11.04: The Battle for Linux Desktop Supremacy

In a few weeks from now, latest versions from two of the finest Linux distributions will be unleashed, bringing along some major changes to the traditional desktop. Ubuntu 11.04 is expected to be released this coming April 28, while Fedora 15 will be out on May 24, 2011. The two will battle it out for Linux desktop supremacy.

What makes these editions special is the fact that both distributions will be offering two completely new user interfaces. Here is a detailed look at how these two veteran distros stack up against each other.

The Desktop:

Since the dark ages of Linux desktop, both Fedora and Ubuntu have sported the overly familiar GNOME 2 look. It goes without saying that the simple, clean and fast desktop environment enjoys a heavy fan base in the Linux world. However as time went on, many people agreed that GNOME was in need of something fresh, something completely new. Hence, developers started working on a totally revamped user interface, now known as GNOME 3 or GNOME shell. This newly designed shell interface was also supposed to be the default desktop environment for Ubuntu 11.04.

GNOME 3

Due to philosophical differences between Canonical and the GNOME team, Ubuntu ditched GNOME 3 and started working on their own desktop environment called Unity. Since this announcement, Unity has received some heavy criticism from the Linux community. GNOME 3 too has had its share of bad feedback following some major UI decisions like removing minimize and maximize buttons. Despite these early apprehensions, both projects have managed to bring a much-needed burst of freshness to the stagnating Linux desktop.

Unity

But how does this whole GNOME 3 vs. Unity battle affect Ubuntu and Fedora users?

Well, Ubuntu team is working assiduously to prove that their decision to stick with Unity was the right one. On the other hand, GNOME team is making sure it remains the most widely used desktop environment. Hence, the release of Ubuntu 11.04 and Fedora 15 will be the perfect platform to decide which desktop environment wins.

Here's a quick comparison of features offered by GNOME 3 and Unity:


Music Players:

Fedora will be sticking with Rhythmbox, while Ubuntu will be using Banshee as the default music player. The decision, however, hasn’t gone down well with many FOSS supporters as Banshee brings along mono libraries to the Ubuntu code pool. Nevertheless, Ubuntu users will be happy to see many new features like Amazon Mp3 store, Audiobooks support and metadata fix up giving Banshee an edge over Rhythmbox.

Software management:

Natty will include an updated version of Ubuntu Software Center allowing users to rate and review applications. Fedora on the other hand will stick with the traditional Add/Remove Software.

Performance:

Both Fedora and Ubuntu will be using the latest kernel bringing along a lot of performance improvements. Behind the scenes, Fedora will now replace Upstart and SystemV with Systemd that provides a slightly faster bootup (especially on SSDs). In the graphics department, people have raised concerns over GNOME's use of Mutter, which had compatibility issues with many graphic cards; however, Ubuntu’s decision to go with Compiz has been readily welcomed by users.

Security:

This is an area where Fedora will beat Ubuntu hands down. Fedora 15 will come with an optional dynamic firewall daemon based on dbus. Moreover, Fedora already includes SELinux thus making it one of the most secure user-oriented distros around.

Unique features in Ubuntu 11.04:

* Revamped UbuntuOne: Natty will include Ubuntu One with a revamped user interface making it more easy-to-use.
* More indicator applets: GNOME’s traditional panel applets won’t be supported thus making way for more indicator applets.
* 100 papercuts project: This is a great initiative by the Canonical team that aims to fix small usability bugs, which often go unnoticed.
* 2D unity: Ubuntu is also developing a Qt-based 2D desktop for low-end graphic cards so that users with older PCs won’t have any problems upgrading.

Unique features in Fedora 15:

* Improved Power Management: Fedora 15 will include PowerTOP 2.x containing a daemon that tunes system settings dynamically to balance the power consumption and performance.
* Indic Typing Booster: Indic typing booster is a predictive input method for ibus platform that provides word completion for Indic languages. This will enable users to create content in their native language with enhanced speed, accuracy and ease.
* Robotics suite: This is a collection of software that will allow users to try out robotics in a simulation environment.

Common Features:

Though Natty and Lovelock have taken different directions, there are some great new features they'll both offer.
* Firefox 4: Both Ubuntu and Fedora will ship with the latest and greatest version of Firefox that is Firefox 4. The open source browser comes with a boatload of new features that make browsing better, secure and faster.
* Libreoffice: Openoffice will be replaced by its fork Libreoffice thus putting a smile back on the faces of all FOSS supporters.
* KDE 4.6: Fedora users who prefer KDE as well as Kubuntu fanatics will get their hands on the latest version of KDE freshly baked from the oven.

Conclusion:

Despite some radical decisions made by GNOME and Canonical, there are some positive expectations from the Linux community. Along with the much-needed freshness to the Linux desktop, these changes bring along a fresh set of challenges for the Linux community. Moreover, the conspicuous yet exaggerated creative differences among the different teams fosters a healthy competition, thus making Linux desktop ready for the bigger challenges. Though Fedora and Ubuntu have taken contrasting approaches, they'll both offer the new-to-Linux user two high quality choices.

Sun Cellular launches ?Mobile Pay? for business

Businesses can now use Sun Cellular’s Mobile Pay to process payments using credit cards, ATMs, and debit cards.

Sun Mobile Pay, a portable online payment system using a Sun-powered point-of-sale device, allows business owners to quickly process card payment transactions anywhere without the need for a telephone line or costly wired installations.

“Mobile Pay improves overall business efficiency and competitive edge by making payment transaction using major credit cards fast, simple and secured,” Michele Curran, Sun Cellular’s Vice-President for Business Solutions.

Business owners can choose between a portable terminal available for as low as P1,379 per month, or the desktop version for a minimum of P1,259 monthly.

All Mobile Pay packages include use of Sun SIM, a point-of-sale device, training on the use of equipment, and 24/7 customer support through its exclusive Sun Business Pro hotline 395 8PRO(776).

“Sun Cellular continues to introduce new business tools allowing businesses to be more productive while saving on telecommunication expenses,” Curran said.

Largely because of its unlimited service and nationwide coverage, Sun is now the No.1 in the industry in the postpaid business in terms of number of subscribers. In September last year, it breached the one million postpaid mark and counting.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Globe ready to compete, fundamental strategy to continue

Globe Telecom will remain focused on its strategy of delivering superior, relevant services to its customers, and build on the momentum that has been created since the second half of 2010. This statement was made in reaction to the recent announcement that Digitel and PLDT / Smart are combining forces in the mobile, fixed line, and broadband space. Ernest L. Cu, Globe President and CEO, said “The Digitel and PLDT merger will not fundamentally change our strategy. We stand ready to compete, and to defend and grow our market share. This industry has always been intensely competitive, and we have been a strong challenger to a dominant incumbent all this time. We will continue to focus on delivering relevant products to our retail and corporate customers, providing differentiated customer service, and enhancing our network to deliver the best experience possible to our subscribers”, said Mr. Cu.

Globe ended the year with a mobile SIM base of 26.5 million, up 14% from prior year’s level. The Company had a postpaid subscriber base of 1.1 million, with fourth quarter net subscriber growth at a 7-year high. The Company has made strong revenue market share gains in the second half of 2010, driven by strong postpaid subscriber growth with the success of Globe’s personalized plans All-New My Super Plan, as well as and improvements in prepaid top-up and usage levels driven by attractive all-network SMS offers such as SuperAllTxt 20 and unlimited, intra-network call and text services such as SuperUnli 25. The Company has also made market share gains in the broadband space. Globe closed the year with 1.1 million wired and wireless subscribers, up 50% from 2009 levels.

PLDT to buy 51.55% of Digitel

igitel’s parent company, JG Summit Holdings, disclosed yesterday to the PSE that they’re going to give up 51.55% in Digitel to PLDT. The deal will be share-swap and JG Summit Holdings will acquire 12.8% in PLDT shares. Total equity value of the entire transaction a whopping P74.1 Billion. This is definitely one of the most interesting things to happen in the teclo industry. This means that Sun Cellular and PLDT/Smart will be working together since they both have interests with one another and the only one in the opposite corner will be Globe.


In a blockbuster deal that caught the telco industry by surprise, dominant carrier PLDT announced on Tuesday that it is acquiring 51.55 majority ownership of Gokongwei-owned operator Digitel, which owns the Sun Cellular brand, for a total value of P74.1 billion.

The merger is formally announced in a hastily announced press briefing at the Crowne Plaze Hotel in Ortigas by (from left) PLDT president Napoleon Nazareno, PLDT chair Manuel V. Pangilinan, JG Summit chair James Go, and JG Summit president Lance Gokongwei.

Main rival Globe Telecom immediately retorted that it is “ready to compete” against the new twin-headed giant.

“The Digitel and PLDT merger will not fundamentally change our strategy. We stand ready to compete, and to defend and grow our market share. This industry has always been intensely competitive, and we have been a strong challenger to a dominant incumbent all this time,” Ernest L. Cu, Globe President and CEO, said in a statement.

With the merger, the combined market share in the cellular space of PLDT and Digitel will now stand at 67 percent. “The market share for the landline business is slightly higher than that [67 percent],” said PLDT boss Manuel V. Pangilinan in a hurriedly arranged press briefing at the Crowne Plaze Hotel in Pasig City.

Saying the competition is not just confined on local shores, Pangilinan said the merger was needed to better equip PLDT against the changing landscape and onslaught of Internet and broadband companies such as Skype.

JG Summit president and COO Lance Gokongwei, said Digitel went through “a very difficul”t process before arriving at the decision.

James Go, chairman and CEO of JG Summit, said that even if the company has already ceded majority ownership to PLDT, the family-owned corporation will continue to invest in the telco business although its main focus now is on the petro-chemical industry.

PLDT said it will seek the requisite shareholder approval for the issuance of the new company shares as payment for the purchase price of Digitel, and regulatory approvals for the transaction by the National Telecommunications Commission and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

A representative of JGS is expected to join the board of directors of PLDT as a result of the acquisition. The transaction is intended to be completed by June 30, 2011.

Both PLDT and JG Summit earlier asked the local bourse to suspend the trading of their shares, triggering speculations that the two telcos were conducting negotiations.

PLDT said its investment in Digitel “is expected to achieve substantial benefits for the consumers, the general public and the shareholders of PLDT and JGS. It will leverage the combined expertise of the PLDT Group and Digitel to create a more capable telecommunications company which will be better-positioned to provide higher quality and even more affordable services to fixed line, wireless, and broadband subscribers addressing a wide range of consumer demand — from voice to SMS to data and Internet and video services.”

PLDT said “intends to keep the mobile operations of Digitel separate and intact, and to maintain and capitalize on Sun Cellular’s operations and significant brand equity to continue serving specific segments of the market, especially those who prefer ‘unlimited’ type of services.”

Digitel will add approximately 450,000 subscribers to PLDT’s current base of 1.8 million subscribers.

“Though this initiative alters the country’s telecom landscape, we expect competition within the industry to remain very robust given that other operators, including new entrants, are formidable and well-funded. And as I have alluded to in previous statements, we face growing competition not just from other telcos but also from the so-called ‘over the top’ or OTT service providers that offer social networking, instant messaging and VoIP services,” Pangilinan said.

“In making this decision, JG Summit went through a rigorous review of its strategic options and concluded that PLDT is the best partner for all our stakeholders — Digitel subscribers should reap benefits from PLDT’s sizeable infrastructure and leading-edge platforms. The transaction should also bring significant value to JG Summit’s shareholders without relinquishing our participation in the Philippine telecommunications industry,” stated Go of JG Summit.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mobile threats doubled in 2010, anti-virus firm says

A new report from software security firm Kaspersky Lab has shown that mobile device threats increased dramatically in 2010, primarily due to the popularity of Google’s Android operating system.

Over 1,000 variants of 153 “families” of mobile device threats were found between August 2009 and December 2010, accounting for 65-percent increase during this period.

In the report “Mobile Malware Evolution: An Overview, Part 4”, Kaspersky Lab senior malware analayst Denis Maslennikov said the list of platforms targeted by malicious programs expanded considerably in 2010.

The growing popularity of the Android platform has inevitably drawn the attention of cybercriminals. In August 2010, the first malicious program targeting Android was detected. Since then, that number has reached 15 programs from a total of 7 families.

The first threats targeting Apple’s iPhone OS also appeared during this last reporting period, but infected only devices that had been jailbroken in order to install third-party games and other software not manufactured by Apple.

Most mobile threats continue to target the Java 2 micro edition (J2ME) platform, which is supported by a huge number of mobile devices. This means it is not only smartphones that are at risk of infection, but basic mobile phones as well.

The second most-targeted platform is Symbian, with Python in third place.

“The use of SMS Trojans is still the easiest and most effective means by which malicious users can earn money. The reason is relatively simple: any mobile device, be it a smartphone or a basic mobile phone, has a direct connection to its owner’s money via their mobile account. It is this ‘direct connection’ that cybercriminals actively exploit,” explained Maslennikov.

From 2010 onwards, sending fee-based text messages ceased to be the sole illegal money-making scheme for virus writers developing threats targeting different platforms.
Other unlawful schemes such as redirecting mobile internet banking users to phishing sites and stealing passwords sent by banks to mobile phones were also used. Mobile threats have become more complex than ever and include the emergence of mobile bots and other remotely-controlled software.

“This means that attacks launched by mobile threats have reached a completely new level,” Maslennikov said.

Kaspersky Lab said it expects an increase in the number of vulnerabilities found on mobile platforms, as well as an increase in the number of threats for Android and the continued use of short numbers by cybercriminals.

SkyCable tries to shake up local broadband mart with 5-Mbps offer

Employing shock therapy as a way to grab market share, Internet service provider SkyBroadband rolled out on Monday a broadband package that promises 5Mbps in lightning speed at P999 — but with a 15GB data allocation.

Joy Lantin, head for broadband marketing at SkyCable, explains the features of the 5-Mbps offering, which the company formally launched on Monday at the ELJ building in Quezon City.

Like the “unlimited” voice and texting promo that Gokongwei-owned Sun Cellular introduced years back that proved to be a game-changer in the mobile space, the new offering of SkyBroadband is expected to shake things up in the local broadband market due to two reasons: the fast speed at 5 Mbps for just P999 and the data cap of 15GB.

Rodrigo P. Montinola, head of marketing of SkyCable, said in a press briefing that the company had to balance the fast speed requirement of consumers with the technology limitation through data allocation.

However, Montinola said consumers have the option to avail of a “top-up” of P100 per 1GB. A similar 5 Mbps plan, but with a 35GB monthly data allocation, is also available for P1999.

At 15GB, the broadband provider said an Internet user can do any of the following activities at a given time: unlimited access to so

Sunday, March 27, 2011

TNT Promo

TNT Plus One Buwan Buwan

Sa TNT Plus One Buwan Buwan, magregister at mag-top up para makakatanggap ng freebies (tulad ng TXT10, Piso Minuto 10) kada buwan! Para magregister, i-text ang TS sa 4545. Magreload lang at least P15 ng dalawang beses sa isang buwan at matatanggap ninyo ang freebie of the month within 48 hours. Available lang sa mga TNT SIM na activated mula February 19 - May 31, 2011.


TNT Panalo Phone

Sa P499, may phone at SIM ka na! Plus FREE P10 Araw-Araw Text at 25 texts sa lahat ng networks! Sa TNT Panalo SIM, mayroong exclusive load offers as low as P5 at maaari rin mag-avail ng regular TNT promos (maliban sa unli promos).


K-SIM UNLI 500 (30 days)

To avail of 30 days unlimited calling to K-SIM users for P500, text UNLI to 5674. To call, dial *5674+(11 digit K-SIM number) (Ex. *567409071234567). Please maintain P1 airtime to enjoy this service.


K-SIM UNLI P10 and P100

To avail of 1 day unlimited texting to K-SIM/TNT/SMART for P10, text U10 to 4545. To avail of 5-day unlimited calling to K-SIM/TNT/SMART for P100, text 100 to 4548. To call, dial *4548+(11 digit number) (Ex. *454809181234567). K-SIM subscribers can also avail of TNT promos.

K-SIM Features and P3/minute Calling Rate

K-SIM is a special Talk N Text SIM made especially for Koreans, customized with features such as Korean Establishment Finder, Daily English Phrases with Korean Translation and K-POP downloads. SIM is only P30, preloaded with 25 free texts to all networks. K-SIM users can also enjoy a special calling rate of P3/min to fellow K-SIM users. To avail of the P3/min rate, you must have at least P4 balance. Just dial *5670+(11 digit K-SIM number). (Ex. *567009071234567 ).

MegaCall Plus 100 (Off Peak)*

To register to Mega Call Plus 100 (Off Peak), text CT100 to 6600. Enjoy 200 consumable call minutes from 10PM-5PM + 150 texts. Call and text is applicable to SMART/TNT/red mobile. Valid for 7 days. To call, dial *6600+(11 digit number).

MegaCall 100 (All Day)*

To register to Mega Call 100 (All Day), text C100 to 6600. Enjoy 200 consumable call minutes to SMART/TNT/red mobile, valid for 7 days. To call, dial *6600+(11 digit number).

Smart Buddy Promo

Flexi All Calls 20

Flexi All Calls 20 lets u njoy 45 consumable minutes for SMART to SMART/TNT/red calls or mobile internet for only P20. To register, text C20 to 6415. Valid for 1 day. To call. Dial *6415 + (11-digit Smart/TNT/Red mobile #) Available to SMART Buddy subs only. Promo ends June 30, 2011.

Buddy P2 Per Minute Promo

Call any SMART, TNT or red mobile user for only P2/minute! Simply dial *2222 + (11 digit mobile number). No registration required. Promo ends June 30, 2011.

SMART Go Mail

SMART Go Mail is a service that enables SMART subscribers to read e-mails pushed to their mobile phones. To set-up service, subscribers need to create an account with Synchronica, either by WEB (http//smartmobileemail.smart.com.ph) or SMS. To register via SMS, send START (email) (password) to 7077. To avail of a daily package (P20), text DAY to 7077. For monthly package (P199), text MONTHLY to 7077.


SMART MMS Mail

Compose a regular MMS and send to any email address for P1! Your email add will appear as (MobileNumber)@smart.mms.ph and your recipient will get it like a regular email. You can add attachments up to 300kb. Not all file formats can be send via MMS Mail. Open to all SMART subscribers.


SMART MMS Mail

Compose a regular MMS and send to any email address for P1! Your email add will appear as (MobileNumber)@smart.mms.ph and your recipient will get it like a regular email. You can add attachments up to 300kb. Not all file formats can be send via MMS Mail. Open to all SMART subscribers.


SMART Buddy - Nokia X2-01 Promo

Buy a SMART Buddy-Nokia X2-01 kit, activate and register your SIM from February 18-December 31, 2011 to receive 5 days of ALL IN ONE 20 for 3 months. To register, text X2 to 9902. In a month, youll get 5 days unlimited texting to SMART/TNT/Red mobile + 100 consumable minutes of calls to SMART/TNT/red mobile OR mobile browsing. To call, dial *6415 + (11-digit #). Crediting for the 2nd and 3rd month is also on the same day you registered.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Analyst: Carriers need new approaches to make data profitable

Citing the lead of local operator Globe Telecom, research firm Ovum has urged mobile network operators (MNOs) develop a smarter approach to managing their network and charging for data usage to allow them to drive profits, manage costs, and secure customer loyalty.

In a new report, the analyst firm found that MNOs need to use customer data held in the business support system with network policy management and control, if they are to manage soaring traffic loads, drive profits, personalize the customer experience and increase their agility and response times.

Clare McCarthy,Ovum principal analyst and author of the report, said: “The phenomenal growth in 3G-enabled devices and smartphones has seen mobile broadband data volumes soar, and penetration is only set to increase. This is putting intense pressure on limited network capacity and spectrum, and profits are not keeping pace with traffic volumes”.

“By expanding policy management and controls, operators can develop smarter charging plans that will provide them with a sustainable revenue stream, improved customer service and the ability to shape traffic on their mobile broadband networks.”

According to forecasts by Ovum, mobile broadband users are set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 28 percent over five years to 2015, globally.

While growth will continue to be robust in the developed markets of Western Europe and North America, the strongest growth is forecast to occur in the emerging markets of Asia Pacific and the Middle East & Africa, with CAGRs in these regions exceeding 35 percent.

In Asia Pacific alone, Ovum forecasts that mobile broadband connections will rise from 332.9 million in 2010 to 1.5 billion by end-2015.

3G dongles and smartphones will drive demand for broadband data applications, while smartphone and tablet users will increasingly use their devices for video services.

McCarthy continued: “Some MNOs have already adopted plans with options such as discounted evening and weekend use or monthly data caps. However, this approach doesn’t go far enough and only addresses one part of the equation. It doesn’t maximize revenue potential with high-value customers”.

“Segmented data plans are one way of increasing revenues, and they can also help deliver a better customer experience. For example, an enterprise is more likely than a family to pay for guaranteed bandwidth, priority service availability and predefined access controls,” added McCarthy.

MNOs can also encourage spend in the consumer sector by promoting “bite size” access to specific applications, which can work well in emerging markets.

If an MNO offers access to social networking services during a defined period at a lower cost, it can make its service more affordable and attractive to users, move traffic to off-peak periods and increase quality of service and customer experience across its operation.

In Asia Pacific’s emerging markets, new innovative mobile broadband billing schemes are emerging where operators charge for social networking services, including Facebook.

For example, Philippine operator Globe Telecom charges a daily rate for unlimited Facebook access for big-screen mobile broadband users.

“This is a simple, but effective way, to extract additional ARPU from a customer,” said Nicole McCormick, Brisbane-based senior analyst for Ovum.

“The problem, however, for MNOs with mobile social networking services is the extent to which they may cannibalize texting revenue,” McCormick added.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Globe Tattoo Buy 3, Get 1 FREE Promo

Buy 3 Globe Tattoo prepaid sticks and get 1 absolutely FREE.

Get 4 Tattoo sticks for only P933.75 each.

Available until April 3, 2011 at Globe concept stores ONLY.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Smart Bro UnliSURF 50

Have fun on the Internet all day and all night with Smart Bro’s UnliSURF 50.

For only P50, you get unlimited internet access for one whole day.

To register, text UNLISURF 50 to 2200 from your SmartBro account.

Smart Bro UnliSURF 50

You may also log on to www.smart.com.ph/connect.

Friday, March 18, 2011

ALLTXT TUNES 15

1. What is ALLTXT TUNES 15?

ALLTXT TUNES 15 is a service that bundles ALLTXT10 load denomination (which is 20 texts on network + 10 texts off network) PLUS 5 VAS content for 1 day. Only P15.00 per top up. After topping up, user will receive a list of all the contents that he can download for free for that day.

AllText VAS 15 1 day P15.00 20 on-net sms + 10 off-net sms + 5 VAS content downloads

2. What are the mechanics of the ALLTXT TUNES 15 offer?

(1) User goes to retailer and asks for ALLTXT TUNES 15 and retailer proceeds to transfer ALLTXT TUNES 15 to user’s MSISDN using his Retailer SIM.

OR

Subscriber texts ATV15 to 2827

(2) User receives via SMS from SMART a confirmation that the load has been credited to his account, as well as a list of featured VAS contents that he can download for that day.

(3) User can text MORE to 8933 to get a list of all the other contents that he can download for the day. List is free of charge.

(4) User selects content from the list. To download, he sends to 8933.

3. Is this a regular service?

No. Service is being offered on a promo basis only, valid until February 14, 2012. Per DTI-NCR permit no. 1741, Series of 2011.

4. How do I register to the promo?

Text ATV15 to 2827

OR

visit any Smart Load retailer

5. Can I register to another text and call services and promos while my ALLTXT TUNES 15 is active?

Yes.

6. Will I still be able to use my remaining load if my ALLTXT TUNES 15 is active?

Yes. Subscriber’s balance will remain intact and may be used for calls and texts to all networks.

7. What will I do if my balance is depleted while my ALLTXT TUNES 15 is active?

A maintaining balance of P1 is required to enjoy the offer of ALLTXT TUNES 15. If balance is consumed or used up within the service validity, texting, calling and downloading will be temporarily disallowed until the subs load up and register to the promo.

8. If subscriber is roaming, can he avail of ALLTXT TUNES 15?

No. A subscriber whose international roaming service is active cannot register to any SMS or Voice promos.

9. Can I use ALLTXT TUNES 15 to send messages or call to my relatives abroad while subscribed to a foreign operator?

No. Regular Call and Text rates apply. Receiving party will be charged applicable call IDD rates.

10. What are the types of contents can I downloads with this bucket? Up to how many can I download?

You can download any 5 combination of content downloads. These may be MP3s, Polytones, Apps, Games, Themes and MMS. Users registered to the package can download up to 5 content per day.

11. How do I download? How do I choose what to download?

You can download any 5 combination of content downloads . These may be MP3s, Polytones, Apps, Games, Themes and MMS. After successfully registering to ALLTXT TUNES 15, user receives via SMS from SMART a confirmation that the load has been credited to his account, as well as a list of featured VAS contents that he can download for that day. User can text MORE to 8933 to get a list of all the other contents that he can download for the day. List is free of charge. User selects a content from the list. To download, he sends to 8933.

12. Is there an expiration date for the downloads?

Valid for 1 day.

13. What if I want more options, how do I get them?

User can text MORE to 8933 to get a list of all the other contents that he can download for the day. List is free of charge.
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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

SC allows e-summons for foreign firms without PH rep

The Supreme Court has announced the adoption of the use of electronic means to serve summons to foreign corporations who are being sued in the Philippines but has no resident agent or not registered to do business in the country.

The SC approved the amendment to the Rules of Court, particularly Rule 14, Section 12, which only provided for the manner of service of summons upon a foreign corporation who has an agent or is doing business in the country.

The said rule stated: “When the defendant is a foreign private juridical entity which has transacted business in the Philippines, service may be made on its resident agent designated in accordance with law for that purpose, or, if there be no such agent, on the government official designated by law to that effect, or on any of its officers or agents within the Philippines.”

Deputy public information chief Gleo Guerra said, however, that the amendment to the service of summons should be done with “leave of court (permission of the court to take action)”.

With the change, summons can now be served through the following means:

* By personal service coursed through the appropriate court in the foreign country with the assistance of the Department of Foreign Affairs;
* By publication once in a newspaper of general circulation in the country where the defendant may be found and by serving a copy of the summons and the court order by registered mail at the last known address of the defendant;
* By facsimile or any recognized electronic means that could generate proof of service or by such other means as may be warranted in the discretion of the court.

Guerra did not specify the other forms of electronic means — the most common of which is e-mail — but pointed out that it will be sufficient as long as that it can be proven in court that the defendant has received the summon.

The SC official said the amendment will become effective 15 days after publication in a news paper of general circulation.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Text hoax on nuke radiation grips PH, dupes PUP head

A text hoax — reminiscent of a bogus incident years ago that falsely reported the death of Pope John Paul II – again reared its ugly head when text messages spread early Monday claiming that radiation fallout from Japan’s busted nuclear facilities was about to reach the Philippines.


A photo grab shows a nuclear plant in Japan exploding on Monday.
The wrong information deceived mobile phone users who passed it around like a virus, with the president of the state-owned Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) among those falling for the trap.

PUP president Dante Guevarra, apparently without consulting proper government authorities and checking news sources, hurriedly cancelled classes in its Sta. Mesa campus, catching many students by surprise.

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) clarified, however, that there was no truth to the rumors that the alleged nuclear meltdown in “Fukushima,” or other places in Japan threatens to affect other places with radiation.

The science agency said there is no immediate danger to the Philippines and advised the public “not to entertain these rumors and to stop forwarding such messages so as not to sow panic among the people.”

The DOST said it is in constant communication with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the highest authority on nuclear matters, for advice on the current situation of the Fukushima Daiichi plant.

Available data do not indicate any immediate threats to the Philippines.

The DOST, through PAGASA and the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), said it is thoroughly monitoring the situation of the nuclear power plants in northern Japan in relation to the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami events.

DOST-PAGASA said they have done several numerical simulations, including the numerical model that predicts the motion of air which may transport radiation from the Japanese nuclear power plant in the event of a nuclear fallout.

“The computed trajectories of air parcel for the next three days showed that radiation from the nuclear power plant will not affect any part of the Philippine Area of Responsibility,” a statement from the agencies said.

The statement explained that prevailing winds during the current month up to early to mid-May at all levels of the atmosphere over Japan and the Philippines are moving toward the northeast and east. This means that wind trajectories are going towards the Pacific Ocean side, it added.

“There is nothing to worry about any immediate effect of radiation in the Philippines at the moment,” the statement concluded.

E-commerce marketplace empowers ?netpreneurs?

Practically anyone who has access to the Internet can now go into business—buying, selling or trading anything of value—thanks to the growing number of online trading communities that have multiplied over the last few years.

More than just a marketplace of ideas and social gatherings, the Internet has, more importantly, evolved into a platform for e-Commerce that allows users to become successful “netpreneurs.”

Abhimanyu Lal, business head for eBay Philippines, believes that an e-commerce site like eBay “democratizes the whole marketplace” by giving equal access to everyone to buy and sell.

In the case of eBay, Lal said during a roundtable discussion that this particular platform could be one of the few Web trading communities where setting up a business online would take less than 30 minutes.

Other advantages of joining the eBay community include not having to pay for retail costs since one does not need to own a physical shop. It also allows users to work practically anywhere for as long as he or she has a computer and Internet connection.

“It’s also an advance payment business so there’s absolutely no concern around collection of money because you will receive your money before you ship your items. Business risks are very, very minimal on eBay,” Lal explained.

Indeed, starting a business on eBay is quite easy. Interested entrepreneurs just need to register on eBay, select a category of products to sell, create a listing and, in a matter of minutes, one’s online store will be ready.

More notably, however, a marketplace like eBay empowers the elderly and those that have retired because they are given an avenue to earn at the convenience of their homes. Such e-commerce platforms likewise allow Internet users from both the rural and urban areas to experience the comfort and convenience of shopping online.

“There are buyers who come from really small towns like the Sulu archipelago, so it really enables access across a whole set of market, a whole set of people,” Lal said.

“Netpreneurs” nowadays are also assured of local buyers as eBay has registered some 750,000 users from more than 300 towns in the Philippines. Add to that, Lal said, the survey done by Mastercard, which showed that nearly 50 percent of Internet users in the Philippines had said that they were looking to buy online in the next six months.

“That means an instant market of at least 15 million,” Lal said.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A day before Japan disaster, DOST calls for quake-resistant house materials

For a change, the Philippine government was proactive in disaster preparedness when the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) and its mother agency, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), held a press briefing on Thursday – exactly a day before a killer 8.9-magnitude earthquake devastated Japan – to call for the use of quality construction materials for safer homes in times of earthquakes.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum and DOST secretary Mario Montejo during the presscon on Thursday at the Phivolcs office in Quezon City

The call came after a shaking table test conducted on two full scale (or true dimension) Philippine model masonry houses in Tsukuba, Japan last February 24, 2011. Masonry houses are concrete hollow block (CHB) structures with no structural beams and columns.

In the test conducted by DOST-Phivolcs and Japan’s National Research Institute for Earth Science and Disaster Prevention (NIED) on the two model houses, they were able to determine that the Building Code-compliant or engineered house (Model A) performed better than the substandard or non-engineered house (Model B) and can withstand a 6.9-magnitude earthquake similar to the one that struck Kobe, Japan in 1995.

Model A used the standard 6-inch thick CHBs with 10 millimeter deformed steel bars as reinforcement spaced at 0.4 meter vertically and 0.6 meter horizontally (or every three layers of CHB).

On the other hand, Model B only used 4-inch thick CHB with substandard 6-millimeter smooth steel bars and whose construction fell below the building code requirements. Both model houses used 864 pieces of CHB from Marikina and exported to Japan for the experiment.

The shaking table tests showed that Model B was easily damaged and eventually collapsed. Model A was able to hold its ground with minor damages after it was subjected to a magnitude 6.9 shock.

Officials look at the presentation showing the test done in Japan

“The lesson in all these is that Filipino homes are generally safer from earthquakes just as long as they follow prescribed guidelines in our Building Code, including the use of construction materials that pass quality standards. There are no shortcuts to safety,” said Phivolcs director Renato Solidum.

Solidum stressed that even if the test is just one dimensional simulation of an earthquake, it validates properly designed and constructed structures can withstand and survived tremors better than poorly constructed ones. An earthquake has three directions, one vertical and two horizontal movements.

The need for strong homes and buildings came again to the fore in the wake of the recent earthquakes like the magnitude 6.3 earthquakes that rocked Christchurch, New Zealand and China.

According to Phivolcs, the experiment is important for awareness and disaster mitigation campaign for most of the masonry type houses in the country are located in seismic prone areas.

Phivolcs said that it is necessary to investigate the seismic performance of the masonry houses for most loss of lives in past earthquakes occurred due to collapse of these non-engineered buildings.

The agency further stated that the Model B type are widely used here in the country for these are favored by low-income families because of the simple design and can be easily erected, which most often are done by homeowners themselves or neighbors.

A closer view of the shaking table test

DOST secretary Mario Montejo said the DOST will try to put up a shaking table in the country for similar tests. “With this kind of facility, we will be able to raise the level of seismic research by providing the means to replicate conditions that are identical to true earthquake ground motions,” said Montejo.

Once fully documented, the result of the test shall be used by Phivolcs-DOST and its partner organizations to improve and ensure adherence to proper construction practices of houses especially for lower-income families.

The agency said it will also come up with a checklist or awareness tool for homeowners to check if their houses are building compliant. The tool will also include viable, economic and safe retrofitting methods for existing substandard CHB houses and construction of new houses.

Video footage of the shaking experiment is being distributed for public consumption for implementation and monitoring of construction standards especially for local government building officials for monitoring new construction substandard houses.

The experiment is a project of DOST- Phivolcs with Japan Science and Technology and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for Science Research Partnership for Sustainable Development under the program “Enhancement of Earthquake and Volcano Monitoring and Effective Utilization of Disaster Mitigation Information in the Philippines.”

Prioritization of ICT-infused ?disaster science? pushed

After the devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan and the worldwide tsunami warnings that it triggered, a lawmaker has called for the development of an ICT-led “disaster science” in the Philippines to make the country better equipped to face natural calamities.

Photo courtesy of Kyodo News/The Associated Press

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, chair of the Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (Comste), said disaster science could capitalize on the use of the Internet and SMS to request and send relief goods and donations.

Angara noted that there is also a system that can monitor rain in real-time, as well as a low-cost wave monitoring system that automatically sends an alarm when there is an indication of vertical acceleration.

“It is reasonable to assume that it is only a matter of time before we are stricken by another great catastrophe. The science is there telling us that the risk is real. Our experiences in the past couple of decades alone has shown us the fact that our country is prone to disasters, and as such I believe our efforts to create the Disaster Science and Management Center should [be] fast-tracked,” Angara stated.

The Disaster Science Management Center (DSMC) is a project of the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology, and Engineering (Comste), which is primed to become a regional training center for disaster preparedness.

“This will not be the run of the mill, classroom-lecture type of learning, but an innovative center that harnesses the experiences of nations used to dealing with disasters, like Japan, that will help teach their hard earned lessons to our LGU’s and those of other countries as well,” said Angara, who chairs Comste.

The DSMC recently announced that that Sentinel Asia, an international project of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), has appointed Manila Observatory as a Data Analysis Node (DAN).

Sentinel Asia aims to support disaster management in the Asia-Pacific Region by applying and promoting Remote Sensing and WEB-GIS technologies among its partners.

The Manila Observatory (MO) partnered with COMSTE in the planning and development of the DSMC. Now that the MO has been appointed as a Data Analysis Node, the Manila Observatory will provide analysis and interpretation of satellite data in aid of disaster management in the Philippine’s and the Asia Pacific Region.

Angara said that the availability of satellite data will boost the capabilities of the DSMC to better understand the mechanics of managing disasters with the cooperation of neighboring countries that have experienced similar storms and natural calamities as the Philippines.

The MO maintains research programs in geomatics, regional climate systems, solid earth dynamics, space weather and air quality. The Manila Observatory promotes the advancement of science-based decision support systems in aid of climate change mitigation, adaptation and disaster risk reduction.

A joint study by Columbia University and the World Bank entitled ‘Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis’, which identifies countries which are at high risk for six major natural hazards: earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, floods, drought, and cyclones, has the Philippines pegged as one of riskiest countries in the world.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Cybercrime in PH: A new breed of menace

Around 10 years ago, people opened their emails one day and found these words in their inboxes. It wasn’t even Valentine’s Day. However, the phrase was not an expression of affection. It was, to everyone’s utter disbelief and consternation, a deadly computer virus.

“I Love You” ripped through computers and network systems all over the world, from Hongkong to Europe to the US, infecting and corrupting important files of small and big business establishments, as well as private and government institutions, causing damage estimated between $5.5 to $10 billion.

The virus was traced to an unlikely source – the Philippines. The culprit: a computer science student at the AMA Computer University by the name Onel de Guzman. He was arrested but charges were dropped. The reason: Philippine laws penalizing cybercriminals did not exist.

Thus, the need for a law prosecuting computer hackers and other such criminals presented itself.

Cybercrime in the current Philippine context

However, cybercrime forms have evolved through the years with the continued growth and popularity of the Internet.

Before, cybercrime involved hacking, online or phishing scams, copyright violations, unauthorized stealing of data and information and email spoofing among others.

In intervening years however, e-commerce has gained a foothold, websites have increased tenfold while online shopping sites, blogs and social networking sites like Friendster, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook which has a following of around 20 million in the Philippines, have grabbed the attention of Internet surfers and tech-savvy individuals all over the world, pushing cybercriminals to modify their act or wear a new hat altogether.

Hence, cyberspace in its current state, is tainted with illegal activities ranging from website defacements, libel, cyber stalking, computer forgery, malware invasion in which a harmful software gains access to a computer system without the user’s knowledge and consent, illegal uploading of indecent material such as photos, music, and videos, online pornography, child prostitution and cybersex which mostly involve foreigners operating in the country.

The past few months alone have seen the proliferation of lewd Internet activities in the country involving Facebook.

Last year, it was reported on TV that a man blackmailed a woman who refused to have sex with him, by uploading nude photos of her in his Facebook account.

More recently, a 21-year-old woman sought assistance from the Manila Police District (MPD) after discovering her picture and personal profile, lifted from her Facebook account without her knowledge, posted on www.escortproviders.com.

She told police she had been receiving text messages and phone calls from Filipino and foreign men, asking her for escort and sexual services to the tune of $500.

Since the MPD lacks the expertise to deal with such cases, the woman was directed to the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) or the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).

Another recent case involved a cop recruit in Bacolod City who posted a nude picture of another male recruit in his Facebook page. The case is now under investigation and could lead to the young police trainee’s dismissal from the police force.

Perhaps, the most famous cybercrime committed in the country in recent years is the much-publicized and talked about Hayden Kho-Katrina Halili sex video.

A rash of phishing scams has also hit the country, as reported by computer security vendor Trend Micro, attacking some of the country’s leading banks and credit card companies in recent years, such as the United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB), Bank of the Philippine Islands, and Equitable PCI Bank.

Trend Micro reported even more alarming news: previously independent cybercrime groups are now joining forces to unleash even more dangerous crimes in cyberspace. These partnerships include ZeuS-SpyEye, Dogma-Koobface, and Koobface-BeeCoin. Among others, they have laid siege on commonly used search engines worldwide to spread malware.

In the Philippines, online searches for boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and other high-profile celebrities as well as headline-grabbing news stories have led local Internet surfers to download what they believe to be a useful antivirus software or a related news article.

What they don’t know is they are actually fake virus-killing tools or harmful sites which turn these people up as unwilling targets for lurking cybercriminals.

The ploy of convincing an Internet surfer to install software and allow cybercriminals to earn, is called Pay-Per-Install. They have other underground ploys as well: Pay-Per-Click wherein criminals earn income whenever surfers click on advertising links put up by these cyber partnerships, and Credential Theft, wherein confidential information such as credit card numbers and banking credentials are stolen. Credential Theft also pertains to the use of money mules and pack mules.

According to senior threat researcher Nart Villeneuve, “The default lifeblood of cybercrime is theft and the Philippines is an emerging market when it comes to online banking and purchasing. With the boom of BPOs and medical tourism, cybercrime is sure to follow the monetary breadcrumbs here.”

E-Commerce Law

Following the cyberterror sowed by De Guzman’s “I Love You” virus, Congress enacted Republic Act (RA) 8792, otherwise known as the “Electric Commerce Act” or “E-Commerce Act”, signed into law in June 2000.

The law provides for the recognition and admissibility of electronic data messages, documents, and signatures on court cases and penalizes online criminal acts particularly hacking, virus attacks and copyright infringements. Accordingly, the Supreme Court drafted the Rules on Electronic Evidence which took effect in August 2000.

But, if De Guzman went scot-free, JJ Maria Giner did not. Convicted under Section 33a of the E-Commerce Law in September 2005, Giner was sentenced from 1 to 2 years of imprisonment and fined P100,000. However, he applied for probation which was eventually granted by the court. Giner is the first Filipino to be convicted of a cybercriminal act, namely the hacking of government portal “gov.ph” and other government websites.

Herein lies the problem. The E-Commerce Law is limited in scope. Some of the Internet and computer-related crimes enumerated in the 2001 Budapest Convention on Cybercrime are not covered by the law, such as:

* Offenses against confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems which include illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices
* Computer-related forgery and fraud
* Content-related offenses such as child pornography

Gov’t efforts against cybercrime

To help solve the growing threat of cybercrime in the country, the Department of Justice (DOJ) formed a Task Force on E-government, Cyber-security and Cybercrime in 2007 which worked closely with the Council of Europe, local I.T. practitioners and other stakeholders.

Records from the Task Force indicate that as of 2007, more than 30 cases, ranging from website defacements, privacy issues, libel, forgery, cyber-stalking and pornography, had been filed before Philippine courts.

For its part, the PNP continues to battle cybercrime with its Anti-Transnational Crime Division (ATCD) under the Criminal Division and Detection Group (CIDG).

Established in 2003, the ATCD has handled 2,624 cases of computer crimes from both government agencies and private individuals, as of 2007. Its staff has undergone 67 training sessions, both local and overseas, from 2003-2008.

In Congress, a bill on Cybercrime Prevention by Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, is now pending. Speakers at the recent 2nd International Conference on Cybercrime held in Makati City, lobbied for the immediate passage of the bill which aims to penalize a wider range of cybercrime offenses to include illegal access to computers, misuse of devices, alteration of data, unauthorized interception of information, child pornography, and aiding a cybercriminal in the commission of the crime. Once enacted into law, it will require guilty parties to pay between P100,000 to P10 million in penalties.

Another bill awaiting passage aims to protect children from cyber-based crimes like child abuse or child pornography. There are around seven other pending House bills addressing the problem of cybercrime in the country.

As it is, no other law on Internet activity, aside from the E-Commerce Law, has been enacted in the Philippines. Other factors worsen the situation: measly budget earmarked for cybercrime prevention, non-existence of an umbrella agency mandated to address the problem, lack of cooperation and coordination between government and private sector, ill-trained law enforcers, and lack of public awareness.

Indeed, the situation has become a “silent epidemic,” as termed by Effendy Ibrahim, Internet safety advocate and consumer business division head of Symantec Asia, another security software firm, as he lamented Filipinos’ lack of concern about escalating cybercrime issues in the country.

Clamping down on cybercrime

Still, government continues to take significant steps toward a more positive direction. For its part, the DOJ plans to open a national cybercrime office linking up law enforcement agencies and government entities engaged in criminal investigation such as the NBI and PNP.

Talks on budget and funding have commenced between the DOJ and the Department of Budget and Management, revealed Justice secretary Leila de Lima.

The justice department is also considering the creation of a digitized notary system and various social media accounts, as well as the National Justice Information System (NJIS) equipped with a database of criminals. The NJIS is envisioned to replace the National Crime Information System established during the Arroyo administration.

The DOJ’s latest plan is to require computer laptop owners to register their devices in order to track down cybercriminals more quickly and effectively in the face of mushrooming Wi-Fi facilities in offices, malls, and other public places.

The headquarters of the DOJ itself is now Wi-Fi enabled. The office also now boasts of an “electronic case monitoring system,” allowing prosecutors and the public in general to monitor pending criminal cases while learning the modus operandi of cybercriminals both here and abroad.

As did the rest of the world, the Philippines observed “World Safer Internet Day” last February 8 with the theme “Our Virtual Lives: It’s More Than a Game, It’s Your Life.”

Hopefully, this annual celebration will make Filipinos more aware of negative activities rampant in cyberspace, as the judicial system, legislature, and law enforcement agencies try their best to craft and implement laws against a new menace called cybercrime.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Smart to saturate countryside with P500 low-end phones

Employing for the first time a direct-selling approach, telecom giant Smart Communications has unveiled a plan to invade the rural areas with a P500-phone package under its Talk ‘N Text brand.

In a press launch Thursday, Smart officials said the launch of the low-priced prepaid handset bundle, dubbed Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone, signals a fresh drive to gain more ground in the lower D and E market.

The telecom operator said it is deploying a direct-to-consumer marketing strategy employed by consumer firms in selling their products. This means that the phone bundle won’t be available in malls or big retail stores – at least not yet – and will be sold only through distributors and roving sales teams.

The Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone kit includes a new handset with a built-in Talk ‘N Text SIM, pre-loaded with free SMS. Specially-developed SMS bucket offers will also be available for as low as P5.


Smart officials discuss the dubbed Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone in a press briefing on Thursday.
With the Panalo Phone’s price, the telco leader is banking on the bundled product to help put a cellphone in the hands of about 11 million or so Filipinos that still don’t have or can’t afford a cellphone.

“Offering quality services and making them affordable and accessible to what they now call ‘the base of the pyramid’ is built into Smart’s DNA. This is where and how we grew,” said Orlando B. Vea, chief wireless advisor and co-founder of Smart.

“Offering the Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone is a natural progression of that strategy,” Vea added.

The Talk ‘N Text SIM in the Panalo Phone kit comes pre-loaded with ‘Araw-Araw Text 10’, which provides 40 SMS to any Smart or Talk ‘N Text number, and 25 SMS to all networks, valid for 2 days. It also comes pre-registered to an SMS-based value-added service that helps collect job openings in various industries.

“This innovative product allows us to offer real value to this fresh market of unserved, potential mobile subscribers,” said Danilo Mojica, head of Smart’s wireless consumer division.

“This is key to our overall strategy of slicing and dicing the market and making sure we have a unique and relevant product to offer to this particular segment,” added Mojica.

To make mobile services more affordable to subscribers with very limited spending money, micro-priced bucket packages – some as low as P5 – will also be made available exclusively to users of the Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone kit, aside from ‘Araw-araw Text 10’.

‘Araw-araw Text 20’ provides 100 SMS valid for five days for only P20, while ‘Araw-araw Text 40’ provides 300 SMS valid for 15 days for only P40.

Another offer that’s designed exclusively for the Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone is the micro-load denomination called ‘Panalo 5’, which provides P5 worth of airtime. Another variant is ‘Promo 5’, which provides 20 SMS for only P5, valid for one day.

The Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone kit will initially include handsets manufactured by Cherry Mobile and ZTE, which are designed to work exclusively with the Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone SIM.

The kits will be available through Smart and Talk ‘N Text sales agents and provincial distributors, while load for the Panalo Phone will be available from any of Smart’s network of over a million e-load retailers nationwide.

To create more value to users, the Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone has also been designed to work with Smart Money, the world’s first cash card linked to a mobile phone, to provide mobile micro-payment and money transfer services to the unbanked.

For an additional P50 cash-out, Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone subscribers may immediately receive their Smart Money Card plus additional P10 load.

“To the unbanked, a Talk ‘N Text Panalo Phone linked to a Smart Money account will provide the benefits of sending and receiving remittances in seconds and at a low cost, and the ability to withdraw from over 9,000 ATMS in the country,” said Mojica.

PLDT, the parent company of Smart, recently reported a net addition of 1.9 million to the Talk ‘N Text base, to end 2010 with over 19 million subscribers — helping Smart keep its lead in the industry in terms of both revenues and subscribers.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Customer Service in a Flash

Subscribers no longer need to drop by malls and business centers just to get after-sales service or inquire about Sun Cellular’s products and services because there are now more avenues to get in touch with Sun Cellular.



“Our subscribers can now reach us through Webchat, Facebook , and Twitter. This is apart from our 24/7 hotline 200, and our website,” says Reuben Pangan, Sun Cellular’s Vice President for Customer Relationship Management.



Pangan says this is to make sure that their subscribers can get after-sales service wherever and whenever they want.



“They actually no longer need to go to our The Sun Shop outlets and line-up because we can serve them anywhere at any given time. They could call our hotline anytime and we will be more than happy to respond to their concerns and inquiries,” he adds.



Pangan says subscribers who wish to avail of their loyalty handsets may simply call the hotline, and Sun Cellular will gladly deliver their new loyalty phones right at their doorstep. “We try to anticipate our customers’ needs,” Pangan explains.



And for the subscribers’ convenience, Pangan says they have even set up customer service pages in Social Networking websites such as Facebook and Twitter. “The youth forms a huge part of our market, and we want them to be able to reach us at their convenience,” Pangan explains. “We also launched our Webchat service where customers can chat with our customer care agents anytime,” he adds.



Pangan says their WebChat service primarily allows roaming subscribers to access customer service anywhere in the world 24 hours a day seven days a week.

PLDT touts first mobile cloud solution

Rampaging tech giant PLDT has introduced what it claimed as the country’s first mobile broadband solution that offers integrated cloud-based Internet protection.



Dubbed as PLDT WeRoam Protect, the solution allows a company’s mobile workforce to access the Internet as well as the company’s intranet network and software applications through a wireless Internet connection.

PLDT vice president and head of corporate business Jovy Hernandez said in a statement that solution addresses the need of large companies to increase the productivity of employees while providing a secure Internet experience.

“Global studies show that employees spend an average of two to three hours per day surfing the Internet for non-business reasons, especially those who work in the field using mobile broadband,” Hernandez said. “The concern of large companies is that this practice exposes the end-user to security risks and, to some, even productivity losses.”

The large companies who need increased data security and higher productivity can use PLDT WeRoam Protect which limits Internet access only to officially sanctioned websites, the telecom firm said.

“For most companies, managing their mobile Internet traffic is an IT nightmare,” said PLDT head of corporate business solutions Vic Tria. “Traditionally, you would have to spend millions in software and hardware to provide enterprise-grade Web security to mobile workers. PLDT WeRoam Protect does this all within the cloud, thus lowering costs and allowing a hassle-free and highly-scalable implementation.”

Hernandez added that through the power of cloud computing, PLDT WeRoam Protect can guarantee a substantial increase in mobile workforce productivity by thoroughly filtering all Internet content according to the client’s needs.

Cloud computing is Internet-based computing, where software, data storage and other resources are shared over the Internet.

With cloud computing, mobile users can access their company’s network and applications remotely through the Internet.

The new service offering is powered by Zscaler, a security-as-a-service solutions provider.

Bill on free Wi-Fi in gov?t offices filed in Congress

Kabataan party-list representative Raymond Palatino has filed House Bill No. 4271 or the “Free Public Wi-Fi Act”, which seeks to provide free Wi-Fi access in government institutions to widen the space for the “people’s participation in clean governance and democracy.”

Palatino

“The various corruption cases hurled at government officials affirm once again the need to revitalize the people’s democratic participation in clean governance and politics. We from the government have to recognize that the Internet is one important mechanism in encouraging that participation,” Palatino said in a statement.

“Notwithstanding the issue of the mass accessibility and availability of personal electronic devices, one way to foster this democratic participation is by providing the people access to the Internet in our government buildings and public establishments,” he said.

Palatino also said that providing free Wi-Fi in government institutions will also encourage people to visit and consider these institutions as public spaces where they can assemble and converge for discussions, engage government officials on various issues, and strengthen democratic processes.

“One cannot deny that maximizing information technology shall be assistive in making more people, especially the youth, well-informed and active in matters concerning the nation,” Palatino said.

“As a form of public service, providing free Wi-Fi shall bring the benefits of the Internet closer to the people,” he added.

Once the bill is passed, wireless Internet connection shall be installed and made available in buildings of all government-related offices including regional and satellite offices, municipal halls, provincial capitols, state universities and colleges, public parks and plazas, public hospitals and public transportation terminals such as airports and bus stations.

The bill also stipulates that no restrictions in the form of passwords and other similar mechanisms, and that no fee in whatever amount shall be imposed with regard to access to the free public Wi-Fi network.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

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PC forecast lowered as iPad, other tablets redefine market

Analyst firm Gartner is lowering its PC unit forecast for 2011 and 2012, based on expectations of weaker demand for mobile consumer PCs.

Worldwide PC shipments are forecast to reach 387.8 million units in 2011, a 10.5 percent increase from 2010, according to Gartner’s preliminary forecast. This is down from Gartner’s previous projection of 15.9 percent growth this year.

Gartner expects worldwide PC shipments to total 440.6 million units in 2012, a 13.6 percent increase from 2011. This is down from Gartner’s previous outlook of 14.8 percent growth for 2012.

“These results reflect marked reductions in expected near-term unit growth based on expectations of weaker consumer mobile PC demand, in no small part because of the near-term weakness expected in China’s mobile PC market, but also because of a general loss in consumer enthusiasm for mobile PCs,” said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

Gartner analysts said that consumer mobile PCs have been the dynamic growth engine of the PC market over the past five years, averaging annual rates of growth approaching 40 percent. For much of this period, mobile PCs remained consumers’ platform of choice for bringing the Internet into their daily lives.

However, due to the spread of low-cost embedded Wi-Fi modules, Internet access is now available through a multitude of mobile devices that allow consumers to engage in virtually all their favorite online activities without the need of a mobile PC.

“We expect growing consumer enthusiasm for mobile PC alternatives, such as the iPad and other media tablets, to dramatically slow home mobile PC sales, especially in mature markets,” said George Shiffler, research director at Gartner.

“We once thought that mobile PC growth would continue to be sustained by consumers buying second and third mobile PCs as personal devices. However, we now believe that consumers are not only likely to forgo additional mobile PC buys but are also likely to extend the lifetimes of the mobile PCs they retain as they adopt media tablets and other mobile PC alternatives as their primary mobile device. Overall, we now expect home mobile PCs to average less than 10 percent annual growth in mature markets from 2011 through 2015.”

The professional market is expected to continue to exhibit double-digit growth in 2011 and 2012, as aging PCs are replaced across all regions of the world.

“However, even in the professional market, media tablets are being considered as PC substitutes, likely at least delaying some PC replacements,” said Raphael Vasquez, senior research analyst at Gartner.

The dramatic rise in the popularity of alternative devices and the limitations of the PC are two of many dynamics that played a significant role in Gartner’s revised outlook for the PC industry.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Globe Unlimited text to ALL NETWORKS

Who thought it would happen soon…. I received a text message a few minutes ago from Globe…

Introducing the first and only unlimited texting to all networks – MY SUPER TXT ALL! Text all 84 million mobile subscribers even if they are on Smart, Sun, Globe, TNT, Red, or TM for as low as P599.00 / 30 days!

I know some people who’s going to Jump for joy once they hear this.

To register text MYSUPERTXTALL ON to 8888.



For postpaid subscribers who would like to avail of this promo, this will be added on top of your monthly subscription. And also, this promo will only work for networks within the Philippines.

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