Smart Communications was awarded Digital Service Provider of the Year at the Asia Communication Awards (ACA) ceremony held recently in Singapore. This recognition is for the Telco carrier’s efforts to boost its network and make relevant digital services accessible to Filipinos.
The ACA recognizes outstanding performance by Asian carriers, multimedia content providers, vendors, and other communication service providers. It is conducted annually by London-based industry publication Total Telecom.
Smart’s Welcome Change campaign – which communicated the company’s digital pivot and encouraged Filipinos to empower themselves through mobile innovations – won the Best Brand Campaign recognition. Janet Watkin, head of the ACA panel of judges and CEO of a customer experience consultancy, said simply making it to the shortlist was already an achievement, given the challenges faced by the telecommunications industry.
“Doing business has become more digital, global, social, and mobile, and the marketplace is vaster and more crowded than it has ever been. Alongside changes in technology and competition are the changing expectations and behavior of customers. As such, making it onto the shortlist for the Asia Communication Awards is indeed a formidable achievement. To win requires that something extra special that is a cut above the rest,” she said.
Smart has a multi-pronged approach in encouraging Filipinos to welcome the digital change – it continuously improves and expands its network while making available devices, relevant content, and value-packed service offers to its subscribers.
In 2016, Smart and PLDT launched a $1-billion digital transformation program to enable their fixed and mobile networks to support the rising demand for digital services. Smart has committed to progressively deploy LTE services to 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities by end-2018. To do this, the company is combining low-band frequencies for better indoor penetration and wider coverage, with high-band frequencies for additional capacity. These frequencies include those obtained through the acquisition of the telco businesses of San Miguel Corp.
Smart has finished its LTE deployment in Boracay and Metro Davao, while efforts are ongoing in Metro Cebu and Metro Manila. Internal tests show Smart’s LTE service consistently increasing in speeds and registering improved indoor data coverage. Third-party crowdsourced tests also show that Smart offers the fastest LTE service in the Philippines.
Because not many Filipinos can afford LTE handsets, Smart has partnered with various device manufacturers to introduce affordable LTE devices with network-compatible frequencies.
To communicate its digital transformation, Smart in mid-2016 unveiled a new logo resembling the Greek letter Delta which means change. Smart also launched the Welcome Change campaign to encourage more Filipinos to discover what the digital life has to offer.