Telstra Corp. (Telstra) ended the telco joint venture talks with San Miguel Corp. (SMC) last weekend. I've been seeing people share their sentiments on social media saying we'll have no choice but to put up with the current situation here.

But it's not all bad. 

Ramon Ang, President of SMC, said that they will continue their plans without Telstra

“SMC’s entry in the telecom market will definitely be a game changer. When we launch, consumers will benefit from better, cheaper service.”

- Ramon Ang


What Does This Mean for Us Here in the Philippines?

While there are no concrete dates on SMC's launch or what the next steps are, we still do get a glimmer of hope. 

Although the planned venture ended, Telstra said in the report that it has offered to continue its technical network design and construction consultancy support to the Ang-led conglomerate.


I don't have any inside information about this. What I gather from that statement though is that there really is no real issue with the joint venture agreement not materializing. SMC is going to continue with the plans. Period. 

So, why all the fuss? 

Continue to Support San Miguel in this Venture

We need to continue to support SMC (or any other provider for that matter) who plans or wants to challenge the status quo.

From an business perspective, right now, the bargaining power of customers is very low.

That means we (consumers) can't do anything despite all our complaints about the duopoly of PLDT and Globe. This is also the reason why, majority of the time, we get bad service quality and poor customer service from both providers. 

Since the barrier to enter the market requires such a high investment cost (remember Telstra alone is looking at investing up to $1B in this joint venture with SMC), even if we wanted to, we can't do anything about it. 

Good thing Ramon Ang cares about the customers (us). That is the reason why we really need to support them in this effort. 

And no, this is not a paid content. 

Remembering the Story of Sun Cellular

I got my first phone when I was nearing high school. If I remember it correctly, I inherited the famous Nokia 3210 from my brother.  This was the period when you buy prepaid cards amounting to PhP 250 pesos, use drop calls (those that took advantage of system glitches), and a single SMS costs 1 peso. 

That was in the late 90s. Back then, Globe and Smart were the only players.

In the early 2000s, Sun Cellular (Digital Mobile Philippines, Inc.) shocked the market by offering unlimited calls and SMS to other people in the same network for as low as PhP 350 per month. Naturally, a lot of people started using this 3rd service provider -- including me. 

Yes, it wasn't perfect. There were a lot of signal issues. It even came to a point that users when trying to call or text at night can't do so. The joke back then was because there was no sun :-)

The real answer (I think) was that people were inside their homes where the signal was weak. 

Then, Globe and Smart all came out with their unlimited promos and plans. Unli calls and texts became the new norm. 

The rest is history as you know it. 

Aligning Perspectives

I always believed that stating one figure without comparing it with others is pretty much worthless. So, I asked my friend who lived in Canada. Their home internet speed averages 300 Mbps at PhP 3,600 with 1TB usage

Can you take a guess what speed do we get for that amount here? 

Just did a quick Google search for the answer.

Globe is offering ~PhP 3,000 for speeds of up to 15 Mbps with 100GB usage. PLDT offers PhP 3,500 for speeds of up to 50 Mbps with unlimited usage (but is only part of a promo ending end of March 2016).

I'll leave the conclusion up to you. Here's a summary of that data. 

  Canada Globe PLDT
Price PhP 3,600 PhP 3,000 PhP 3,500
Speed 300 Mbps 15 Mbps 50 Mbps
Bandwidth 1,000 GB 100 GB Unli (promo)

Adding More Clarity to the situation

Ok, but that's Canada (or US, Europe). That's not an excuse for all of us to be happy with our current situation. What about our neighbors in Asia? What about in Southeast Asia?

Here's the answer: no matter what report you look at (here or here), the Philippines is at the bottom of that list

The Philippines has one of the slowest yet most expensive internet per Mbps. 

The study showed that Philippine Internet users spend $18.19 (~PhP 840) per Mbps, compared to an average of $5.21 (PhP 240) per Mbps worldwide. This put the Philippines at 161st of 202 countries.

- GMA News Online

While we may not have concrete details on what the next steps are for SMC or Telstra for that matter, what we need to continue doing as a nation is to continuously ask for better service from our providers.  

What do you think? Have something to add? Let me know in the comments below. 

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