Monday, May 11, 2009

Globe and Smart Marketing Intensifies (Against Each Other)

The two mobile telcos, Smart and Globe, have been intensifying their marketing against each other as of late. While it is not (legally?) acceptable marketing practice in the Philippines to explicitly mention your competitors in your ads unlike in the US, recent ads by Smart is pretty obvious in its offensive. There's a big billboard at the corner of EDSA and Pioneer (where Robinsons Forum is), in the past couple of weeks, that throws pot shots at Globe and Sun.

It shows the typical mobile phone icons for cellular signal strength with Brand "S" at the smallest bar, followed by Brand "G" (duh, who can that be referring to), and Smart leading with the most number of cellular sites. And if that is not obvious enough, the text above says "Over 2,000 more cell sites than he 2nd network".

What makes this location very interesting is its just a stone's throw away from Globe's headquarters along Pioneer Street! So I'm sure the Globe guys there are not too happy reporting to work every day with that billboard staring at them. he he he

I have to give Globe credit though for their recent launch of the DUO. Its a very interesting concept -- using a single SIM to have both a Globe mobile number and a Globe landline number. Then depending on whether you're calling a mobile number or a landline number, it uses the appropriate identity automatically so as to lower your cost (landline-to-landline call is free).

This would probably not affect Smart much, but it should be a cause for worry for telcos like Bayan who has been mainly positioning their service as an unlimited mobile-like/wireless landline service. The DUO can do what Bayan is claiming, while at the same time, enjoy mobile capability and have local + global roaming features. So the case for a separate wireless landline has somehow been reduced. If I already have a Globe mobile phone and am looking for unlimited landline calls, the value proposition of using DUO is better than getting a separate Bayan wireless landline. But if all I needed was unlimited landline, then Bayan is the better way to go as DUO requires that I also subscribe to a regular Globe mobile plan.

Incidentally, I received an unsolicited SMS today from Globe -- on my Smart number! The sender appeared as (0921)xxx9655. Undoubtedly, its a prepaid Smart number. The SMS was basically an offer to use Globe DUO. Its so obvious that it came from Globe. No, they can't claim it was just some over-eager sales agent who acted on his own because there was no info on who to call to avail of the offer. It was just a plain, flat-out, marketing txt message to try DUO. Globe marketing probably bought a Smart SIM, plugged it into a GSM modem, and started shooting messages to their list.

Globe has recently been marketing themselves as "the leader in postpaid". Granted that it is most likely a statistically valid claim, I'm really not sure as to what marketing edge it is supposed to convey. As a consumer, I can easily understand what benefits there are if there are more cellsites -- better coverage, stronger signal, etc. But what do I expect from a leader in postpaid? Better billing statements? nyuk nyuk nyuk.

If I don't have a mobile phone service and I'm deciding between Globe and Smart, would a tagline like "leader in postpaid" suppose to sway me one way or the other? I don't know if its just me, but I just don't find it a compelling marketing tagline as a consumer.

But I also give kudos to Globe for their Globe Labs initiative. Opening your platform to developers can only lead to more apps being made available to your customers. So in the end, everybody benefits. Currently, developers have access to their SMS, MMS and LBS (Location-based Service) API's. The Voice API will be launched in the next couple of days.

Incidentally, I have a Globe mobile, a Smart mobile, and a Bayan wireless landline. I've never tried using Sun although my wife uses it for her Sun-to-Sun unlimited calls (that is, if you are willing to get disconnected every 15 mins or so and have to redial).


Lurker said...

Sun-to-sun (postpaid) unlimited calls now cuts the line after 60 minutes. :)

What happen to Red Mobile of Smart?

Dick Chiang said...

Red Mobile (the service-formerly-known-as U-Mobile of CURE) has been very silent after their initial salvo. Its mainly a low-cost proposition. There doesn't seem to be anything particularly unique about it. I don't think they continued with the original business model of U-Mobile where the phone calls were free and subsidized by advertisers.

Incidentally, I received yet another SMS today on my Smart line from a (0928)354-3745 telling me to try out Globe DUO. Looks like Globe is using multiple Smart SIM's to send out their unsolicited offer to Smart subscribers.