A few months back, I had dinner with several Smart Comm. executives and Doy Vea of Media Quest regarding the launching of Mobile TV in the Philippines. During our discussion, I asked why would Smart move into the Mobile TV market when their 3G roll-out hasn’t been completed yet. Besides, I haven’t heard of their upgrade to HSDPA in months (if they were indeed planning to upgrade at all).
I asked if they could share with me the total number of active 3G users in their network and I got an answer in the 30k-ish. I followed it up with a question on what figure will they get their investments (ROI) back for the entire project. With the way they answered my questions, I reckon that they’re nowhere near their expected projections.
So, will the introduction of the sub-7k 3G capable handsets like the LG KU250 do the 3G market some good? Will cheaper 3G phones revive the sluggish adaptation of 3G in the country? Maybe, yes.
The unit comes with a dual-camera (1.3MP + VGA Camera in front), 384Kbps internal modem, 10MB internal memory plus external slot and bluetooth. Smart is selling them for Php 6,290 ($130) while Globe offers it for Php500+ per month at zero interest rate for 12 months.
But phones like the LG KU250 are just that — cheap 3G phones and nothing more. Will people buy LG phones now instead of their favorite Nokia handsets because it is the cheapest 3G phone and for that reason alone? I don’t think so.
Well, maybe next year, Nokia will deliver their own version of a really cheap 3G phone so that every yaya and jeepney driver can afford to make video calls. Still, the stats tells us that Filipinos are texters rather than callers.