In the 6th Annual Fast 50, Globe Telecoms and Smart Communications were included on the top list of 50 leaders, innovators, and technology pioneers.
Globe Telecoms went in at #5:
Call it “banking for the unbanked.” The long-awaited “wireless wallet” is now at work on the streets of Manila. Globe Telecom, the Philippines’s second-largest wireless carrier, has launched a text-messaging service dubbed G-cash, which lets low-income consumers use the prepaid cards in their cell phones to send and receive cash, pay bills, and make purchases at retail outlets. Globe, which handles roughly $100 million in G-Cash transactions a day, charges a 20-cent fee for any transaction below $20 and a 1% cut for any transaction at or above that. And the service’s 1.3 million subscribers, many of whom lack bank accounts, can now “bank” by cell phone.
Smart Communications followed in at #6:
How can a wireless carrier grow if most of its subscribers earn only $6 a day or less, and use their mobiles only for text messaging? For Smart Communications, the Philippines’s top carrier, the answer was an all-digital “telecom in a sachet”: Some 800,000 retailers buy text-messaging airtime in bulk from Smart and resell it (also via text message) in micro-denominations of as little as 50 cents per packet. The result: Smart’s 22 million customers get anytime service at a price they can afford. Smart’s retailers (typically, neighborhood-store owners) get a “logisticsless” product that doesn’t add inventory and delivers 15% margins. And Smart, unlike Western companies, gets paid before it delivers $80 million worth of “e-loads” monthly. Smart, indeed.
Interesting how both Globe’s GCash and Smart e-Load have been widely acclaimed as tech-breaking innovations. The Fast 50 list is not actually a ranking so whether one is at #1 or #50 doesn’t make any much difference. You can view the complete list of the top 50 here.