Smart: Digital lifestyle here to stay

The digital trend will persist this year, a ranking official of mobile services provider Smart Communications Inc. and parent PLDT Inc. said, as consumers quickly adapt to digital services for their everyday needs.

Smart President Alfredo S. Panlilio said consumers have already shifted online, and this trend is “here to stay,” making telcos “extremely relevant.”

“It is highly unlikely that the shift in consumer behavior towards digital would revert to how it was before,” he said. “As both personal and business communications shift to online, practically all other aspects of life are now digitally powered.” This trend, he said, has caused Smart and PLDT to focus on delivering “superior customer experience” this year.

“Our job is to make sure that we continue to provide superior data network and most relevant content, to make the experience of our customers better than anybody can offer,” Panlilio said.

PLDT is spending as much as P92 billion in capital expenditures this year, as it modernizes and expands both its fixed line and wireless networks, including the deployment of new 5G sites.

As of December, PLDT’s fiber infrastructure spans more than 429,000 kilometers, supporting the mobile network of Smart, which now covers 96 percent of the population and is available in 95 percent of the cities and municipalities.

Smart increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000 at the end of 2020 and rolled out additional 5G sites as it accelerates its 5G commercial services nationwide.

Panlilio added that part of the “superior customer experience” focus of Smart is the amplification of lifestyle initiatives such as partnerships with global brands and ambassadors such as the Grammy-nominated music act BTS.

The group has also so far improved its offers and has since launched the GigaLife mobile app, which enables Smart users to manage their subscriptions more seamlessly and allow them to earn points and rewards.

“Our recovery from this pandemic will not spell a return to the old normal,” Panlilio said.

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