Filipino mobile operator Smart Communications, a unit of national PTO Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), claims to have captured nearly 60% of the domestic mobile market as it announces that its subscriber base has reached 25 million users. Of the total, some 17.6 million are subscribers of its Smart Buddy, Smart Gold and Smart Infinity options, while a further 7.4 million users are Talk ’N Text users, the pre-paid brand of subsidiary Pilipino Telephone Corporation (Piltel).
Smart says it has built its lead on providing strong service coverage and innovative services. The cellco’s GSM network currently serves 99% of the population and it was also the first company in the Philippines to launch 3G commercially, when it introduced the service in February 2006. Since then it has introduced HSDPA and unveiled its Smart Bro programme, a new fixed wireless high speed broadband internet service. At the end of December 2006 Smart’s GSM network consisted of 36 switches and 6,065 base stations, over 2,200 of which were equipped with wireless broadband capability.