The cost of mobile data in the Philippines continues to be among the lowest in the world, according to cable.co.uk, a UK-based site which provides information on broadband, TV and phone pricing and packages.
According to cable.co.uk’s internet pricing study for 2020, the average cost of mobile data in the Philippines ranks number 60 out of 228 surveyed countries and is the sixth most affordable in the Southeast Asian region, at USD 1.42 per gigabyte.
In the case of Smart Communications, the wireless arm of the Philippines’ largest and only integrated telco PLDT, its Giga suite of mobile data packages offers mobile data at even lower prices of PhP11-12.50, or about USD 0.22-25 per gigabyte.
The Giga suite of packages, designed by Smart to address the different “passion points” of Filipino data users, includes Giga Stories, Giga Video, Giga Games, Giga Work, and Giga Study.
Giga Video 50, for example, offers 1 GB of daily access to YouTube, iWant, NBA, and Cignal Play, and 1 GB open-access data, valid for three days, for only PhP50. Giga Stories 50 similarly offers 1 GB of daily access to Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Twitter and 1 GB open-access data. Both give the user a total of 4 gigabytes of data for only PhP50, or just PhP12.50, or about USD .25 per gigabyte.
Other Giga variants offer longer validity, for an even lower price per gigabyte. Giga Video 99 offers 1 GB of daily access to YouTube, iWant, NBA, and Cignal Play, and 2 GB open-access data, valid for seven days, for only PhP99. Giga Stories 99 similarly offers 1 GB of daily access to Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Twitter and 2 GB open-access data. Both give the user a total of 9 gigabytes of data for only PhP99, or just PhP11, or about USD .22 per gigabyte.
These Giga packages are available via *123# and on the GigaLife App, which is free for download on iOS and Android devices and may be used by all Smart and TNT subscribers.
The Giga Pro line, designed by Smart to address the needs of very heavy data users, is a heftier variation of the wireless provider’s bestselling Giga suite. The Giga Video Pro 199, for example offers 3 GB of daily access to YouTube, iWant, NBA, Cignal Play and 6 GB open-access data, valid for seven days, for only PhP 199. Giga Stories Pro similarly offers 3 GB of daily access to Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Twitter and 6 GB open-access data. Both give the user a total of 27 gigabytes of data for only PhP 199, or just PhP 7.37, or about USD .15 per gigabyte. Giga Pro is available exclusively to Smart subscribers via the GigaLife App.
According to Jane Basas, Senior Vice President and head of Consumer Business at Smart, the design of the Giga suite of offers, including how it is priced, is meant to encourage the GigaLife among Filipinos.
“GigaLife is all about easy access to services they need, so they can enjoy doing more of what they love. As gigabyte becomes common speak for us when referring to our daily data consumption, it made perfect sense for us to espouse the GigaLife for our customers with specific Giga offers attuned to their passions and lifestyle,” said Basas.
Underpinning this GigaLife and enabling Smart’s over 70 million subscribers to enjoy these services are the massive investments made by Smart and PLDT on their integrated network, particularly on increasing the capacity and expanding the coverage of Smart’s LTE network.
These investments, which include some Php 260 billion from 2015 to 2019 and target capital expenditures of up to Php 70 billion or more for 2020, have led to Smart LTE base stations across the country increasing by 15% to 28,200 as of end-August.
Smart LTE also continues to be the country’s fastest mobile data network according to third-party analytics firms, such as Ookla and Opensignal.
Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis, recently named Smart as the country’s fastest mobile data network in the first half of 2020. This is based on 2,810,963 user-initiated tests taken with Speedtest®. On the other hand, Opensignal, an independent mobile analytics firm, reported in its latest Mobile Network Experience Report for the Philippines published in April 2020, that Smart remained ahead of the competition in terms of Video Experience, Upload, and Download Speed Experience, Voice App Experience, Games Experience, and 4G Availability.