Smart Communications has ditched the brand name of its fixed wireless broadband service ‘Smart Wifi’ in favour of ‘Smart Bro’, having decided that the old name was under advertised and caused confusion with its customer base. ‘Smart Wifi was not extensively advertised. It was marketed below the line. So when the time came that this could be promoted using tri-media, we thought of coming out with a better brand. We’re now giving it an advertising push,’ Smart Communication spokesman Ramon Isberto told INQ7.net. The new branding will avoid the old name which was often confused with the Wi-Fi wireless fidelity communication standard. Smart Bro uses a different kind of wireless communication technology based on WiBro, a wireless broadband internet technology first developed by the Korean telecoms industry.
Smart launched Smart Wifi in September 2005 and at the end of the year had signed up about 25,000 subscribers, accounting for 22% of the total number of broadband subscribers of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) and Smart. The overall number of broadband subscribers doubled to 114,000 in 2005, up from 48,000 at the end of the previous year. Take-up increased in the first quarter of this year, although Isberto declined to provide figures saying the group was currently in a ‘quiet period’.
Smart has been deploying fixed wireless networks in more remote areas, integrating portions of the fixed wireless broadband network with the existing GSM cellular network. The service provide internet access speeds of up to 256kbps, allowing people to connect to the internet via an aerial outdoor antenna installed in a subscriber’s home. This antenna establishes a direct ‘line-of-sight’ to the nearest Smart cellular site offering the ‘strongest possible radio frequency transmission,’ and creating a last mile wireless connection to the internet, with a range of up to 1.5km.
PLDT will resell the Smart Bro brand in place of its ‘myDSL-W’ product, a similar wireless broadband service brand.