State of Mobile Internet in the Philippines 2013

I was in Manila for the Memorial Day weekend, and went to the beautiful new Robinsons Magnolia Mall in New Manila, Quezon City.

Here’s some info I got in the Globe Telecom store on the current state of mobile (phone and tablet) and fixed Internet in the Philippines.

Executive Summary

Philippines consumers have widely adopted smartphones, though fragmented into Blackberry, iPhone and Android users. The nation of 97 million (plus 12 million overseas) primarily uses smartphones for social networking and games. The UI language is English and respective App stores are commonly used. SMS has been marginalized on smartphones by instant messenger (IM) programs since SMS is charged per message, while IM traffic is included as part of a package. Young adults typically have 700 to 1,000 Facebook friends, and friend their parents (unless hiding something.)


There’s two main cell phone providers in the Philippines:

  1. Globe Telecom aka Touch Mobile
  2. PLDT/Smart Communications aka Talk and Text, Sun Cellular

As of 2013, everybody who wants a smartphone already has one – teens, students, workers to age 50.

The three smartphone types are:

  1. Blackberry (Curve 9220 EDGE is popular and still sold, Bold also popular)
  2. iPhone
  3. Android (Samsung, Cloudphone, various)

Users usually have no preference for smaller phones, though users who like to watch videos tend to look for larger screens, including the Samsumg Note mini-tablet. Pre-teens and male teens who game prefer Android, at the risk of viruses than can wipe your personal data from the phone.

Globe’s Blackberry BB Social package for P299/month gives you Yahoo Messenger, Facebook, BBM, Twitter but no browser surfing except WiFi. It is the most popular package since a general Internet data package is P599.

Connection speeds range from EDGE up to LTE. The vast majority of phones are GSM, and users see 5 bars everywhere.

Both Globe and Smart also sell Pocket WiFi access points.

PLDT Landlines and DSL has a variety of speeds starting at 1 Mbps (3 GB) up to 100 Mbps (unlimited GB.)

Public WiFi access points as a rule never work, except for Starbucks. Provincial buses, like Victory Liner, have WiFi on buses. Take that, Caltrain! 🙂

There’s two payment methods for cellular services:

  1. Prepaid, known as load. Available at numerous locations throughout every neighborhood, starting with a minimum of P10.
  2. Contract. Effectively you get twice as much airtime when paying via contract than load.

There’s no widely-recognized credit bureaus like in North America, so contract plans in the Philippines require proof-of-income (like a corporate ID or pay stubs) and/or previous statements to qualify.

The Powermac Center, an Apple Premium Reseller, said that the iPad Mini is more popular than the iPad.

Many people who want both a cell phone and a tablet buy the Samsung Note, but wealthier families buy multiple devices.

The above also applies to Indonesia and Malaysia, except they use their local language instead of English.

Rockwell/Power Plant (Makati), Robinsons Magnolia (QC) and SM Podium (QC) are popular with Filipino celebrities because they cater to wealthy consumers, yet are relatively uncrowded. Magnolia and Ayala Glorietta 3 have prosumer camera shopping areas.

Bank Exchange rate

USD1.00 = P41.10 on Memorial Day

wikipedia: Philippines Asia is leading us to a ‘phablet’ revolution
Robinsons Magnolia – Exterior
Sarah G Singing “You Can Reach Me” at Globe Tower Launch Party

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