PH among Asia's 1st markets for iPhone 5

By Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Posted at Sep 07 2012 09:41 AM | Updated as of Sep 08 2012 12:01 AM

MACTAN, Cebu, Philippines – The Philippines is likely to become one of the countries in Asia where the iPhone 5 would be launched after its official introduction in the US next week.

Orlando Vea, chief wireless advisor of Smart Communications Inc., said in an interview with reporters on the sidelines of the Asian Carriers’ Conference (ACC) Apple Inc. would likely tap the Philippines as one of its first market in Asia for the iPhone 5.

“Hopefully we are the first in Asia,” Vea stressed.

He pointed out that the Philippines is a digital literate country and has the highest numbers in terms of Internet usage particularly for social media including “Facebook” and “Twitter.”

“We have one of the highest numbers in Internet usage and social media. We are a digital literate country,” he added.

Furthermore, the official added that the Philippines is a huge market with a population of close to 100 million.

A larger, thinner iPhone 5 is expected to be unveiled at an event scheduled on Sept. 12. This would be the first biggest event of Apple since death of its long-time leader Steve Jobs.

The subscriber base of the group of dominant carrier Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) including Smart increased by 3.7 million to 67.4 million while total broadband subscribers at 3.1 million. Smart had 26.9 million subscribers under its mainstream Smart brands, while value brand Talk ‘N Text ended has 24 million subscribers.

On the other hand, Digital Telecommunication of the Philippines (Digitel) had 15.9 million Sun Cellular subscribers while Smart subsidiary CURE’s Red Mobile brand had 600,000 subscribers.

On the other hand, the group’s combined broadband subscriber base hit the 3.1 million mark at the end of the first half of 2012, representing net additions of about 134,000 for the PLDT Group’s various broadband services including SmartBro and PLDT’s DSL.

PLDT’s profits slipped by eight percent to P19.5 billion in the first half of the year from P21.3 billion in the same period last year as the group continued to consolidate the operations of a telecom provider acquired from business tycoon John Gokongwei late last year.

It would be recalled that the PLDT Group shelled out P69.2 billion to acquire Gokongwei’s controlling stake in Digitel in a transaction that was closed last Oct. 24.