Smart LTE to prepaid subs; Vivo Y30 gaming phone; Video gaming surges; Telemedicine up, Keeping good customer relationships

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    Nokia, Converge ICT deploy fiber to the home network in Philippines

    CONVERGE ICT, one of the leading Internet and digital services providers in the Philippines, will bring ultra-broadband services to the island of Mindanao by deploying Nokia’s fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) solution. With this deployment, Converge ICT will be expanding its broadband network coverage to the region by connecting more than 300,000 homes and businesses to ultra-fast, affordable and reliable broadband services over the next three years.

    “Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, people have started to increasingly use digital platforms to complete a number of day-to-day tasks for which they demand an agile broadband network. Our network infrastructure will allow us to provide best-in-class broadband network to our subscribers especially during unprecedented times like these. We are confident that Nokia’s fiber solutions will enable us to enhance the overall quality of our services,” Dennis Anthony Uy, Founder and CEO at Converge ICT, said.

    Nokia’s fiber solution allows Converge ICT to deliver a differentiated broadband service to customers and will play a key role in its ability to seamlessly evolve its network over time. The deployment uses fiber access nodes from the Nokia Lightspan FX series, which provides Converge ICT with the flexibility to use their fiber more efficiently and evolve to next generation technologies such as XGS-PON, 25G PON, next-generation PON line cards and Software Defined Access Network (SDAN), through a software upgrade.

    This deployment is pivotal towards laying the foundation for the Philippines’ digital future as it aims to provide access to affordable broadband in one of the far-flung regions of the Philippines. The availability of fiber-based Internet connectivity in Mindanao will create new opportunities for the island to grow economically while strengthening the digital backbone for industries and government-run facilities.

    We are delighted to support Converge ICT in its mission to provide superior broadband services to its customers. Our fiber solutions will help Converge ICT bring enhanced ultra-broadband services to its subscribers across the Mindanao region while our 7360 ISAM FX product portfolio will enable them to capture a greater share of the lucrative broadband services market,” Don Abad, Head of Customer Team at Nokia Philippines, said.

    Overview of the solution:

    • Nokia GPON technology will enable Converge ICT to deliver enhanced speeds and better quality
    • Nokia ISAM FX will provide Converge ICT the flexibility to choose the fiber technology and deployment density that best suits their techno-economics, local regulations, and service offering.
    • Nokia 7360 (ISAM) FX 8/4 are futureproof platforms that are ready to support 10G PON and beyond along with Software Defined Access Network (SDAN) through software upgrade.

    Smart makes LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi available to prepaid subscribers

    AS we try to ease into the new normal by shifting many aspects of our life online, having fast and reliable connectivity has become ever more crucial to power our increasingly digital lifestyle.  

    This is especially true for employees who are starting to become mobile again with the gradual easing of quarantine restrictions, students who are adjusting to online learning, as well as those who are trying to expand their income through online gigs or businesses.

    A new device to power our digital life 

    In a bid to make it simpler and easier for Filipinos to embrace the new normal, mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. is making the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi more accessible to many by offering it to prepaid customers for a one-time cash-out of P1,995.

    Initially available to postpaid subscribers, the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi is aptly positioned as a new device to power our digital life as it enables users to enjoy speeds twice that of old Smart Pocket WiFi devices to support all online activities on the go. 

    The Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi delivers significantly faster speeds by using Carrier Aggregation, the latest technique in mobile communications that is used to help meet the target data rates for data-intensive mobile apps and services. Carrier Aggregation does this by combining more than one component carrier together within and across bands, much like combining two or more highways to handle more traffic and use available capacity more efficiently. Thus, the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi is able to deliver more data rates per user, reduced latency, and increased capacity for subscribers. 

    Perfect for mobile use

    Moreover, Carrier Aggregation makes the device perfect for mobile use because wherever you go, the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi efficiently uses the available component carriers and bandwidth at your location.

    As such, users can rely on the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi to deliver significantly faster mobile connectivity while connecting from home, at the office, or while traveling on the road. It is also a must for those attending online classes, expanding their small business online, or those who simply want fast and constant access to their favorite productivity, entertainment, and social media apps on the go.

    A simpler way to load up  

    Subscribers can make the most of the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi with GIGA Pro, a bigger and better data pack that offers a generous combination of 3 GB per day of any GIGA offer – whether it’s Video, Study, Work, Games, or Stories – plus open access data allocation to cover all online activities.  

    GIGA Pro is exclusively available on the Smart App, which is downloadable on Google Play Store and the App Store.  The Smart App provides an easier way for subscribers to load up the device with just a few taps – doing away with the old hassles of needing to connect to a complicated online dashboard, or having to transfer the Pocket WiFi SIM to a handset.   

    To avail of GIGA Pro, subscribers only have to first connect their smartphone to their Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi and then log in to the Smart App, which will automatically detect their account number. After that, subscribers just need to tap the GIGA Pro offer they need.  

    Connect up to 10 devices  

     Aside from enabling users to experience significantly fasters speeds and bigger data on the go, the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi also lets users connect up to 10 WiFi-ready devices – twice that of regular Pocket WiFi devices in the market.  

    This makes it perfect for multitasking and sharing, so users no longer have to go through the hassle of having to use their phone as a WiFi hotspot, which uses up their phone’s data allocation and drain their battery more quickly.  

    Available nationwide   

    The Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi is available on prepaid at Smart Stores, the Smart Online Store, accredited retailers nationwide, as well as the Smart Flagship Store on the e-commerce platform Lazada. 

    It is also available on postpaid plans starting at P699 per month, under a 12-month contract. These come with monthly open access data allocation ranging from 6GB to 15GB to cover all online activities. All Smart Bro plans also come with the data rollover feature so that unused data from the previous month shall be carried over to the next month.   

    Country’s fastest mobile data network  

    The Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi is powered by Smart LTE, the country’s fastest mobile data network according to third-party analytics firms, such as Ookla and Opensignal. 

    Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis, recently named Smart as the country’s fastest mobile data network in the first half of 2020 after it achieved a Speed Score™ of 18.33, with average speeds of 15.94 Mbps for download and 7.57 Mbps for upload, based on 2,810,963 user-initiated tests taken with Speedtest®.      

     

    On the other hand, Opensignal, an independent mobile analytics firm, reported in its April 2020 Mobile Network Experience Report* for the Philippines that Smart remained ahead of the competition in terms of Video Experience, Upload, and Download Speed Experience, Voice App Experience, Games Experience, and 4G Availability.  

    Know more about Smart’s promos and services by following Smart’s official accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

    Experience seamless gaming and screen time with vivo Y30’s superior battery life

    There is no doubt that screen time have doubled, if not tripled, with everyone cooped in their homes, making their smartphones the on-demand resource for outside world access, social updates, and most especially, gaming. Being glued to the phone screen for the most part of the day, there’s a need for a smartphone that can withstand the varied high-volume usage of all types of smartphone users, and vivo’s Y30 model is exactly the model built for that.

    The vivo Y30 guarantees “Non-Stop Play, All Day” with its Ultra Battery life that can support hours and hours of uninterrupted gameplay.

    The vivo Y30 is another remarkable addition to the roster of global smartphone giant vivo’s lineup of models that boast of amazing battery life. Y30’s Ultra Battery feature at 5000mAh keeps it running for longer to cater to the multitude of activities possible with the handset—whether its for endless crisp quality selfies and photos or relentless gaming.

    In a test conducted to examine the battery life of the said unit, it showed that the Y30 can support at least 9 hours of online gameplay, such as Mobile Legends, at full volume and brightness on full charge. Meanwhile, Y30 also uses a Type-C connector so users can enjoy quick and safe charging.

    For only P9,999 (SRP), one can enjoy uninterrupted screen time connecting with family and friends through video calls and on social, streaming their favorite shows and movies, and owning the gaming field with ceaseless leveling-up, all because of the vivo Y30’s Ultra Battery life feature.

    Get a hand on the best smartphone that can keep up with your needs, and experience “non-stop play, all day” with the vivo Y30 available in all vivo concept stores, kiosks, and multibrand stores nationwide. One can also have it delivered through online purchase via Lazada and Shopee for only P9,999. Don’t get left behind, be an owner of a vivo Y30.

    Visit https://www.vivoglobal.ph/ to learn more and stay up to date with vivo news.

    Demand for video games in PH surging

    Video games see a surge in demand in the Philippines this year as the coronavirus lockdowns force people to stay at home, and the growth is expected to continue over the next four years.

    In 2020, sales of video games are projected to grow by 23 percent in constant 2019 value sales amid the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), according to the Euromonitor Digest, a monthly online publication of the Department of Trade and Industry-Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB).

    The report said such products are a major source of entertainment for children while many adults are also spending more time at home and want to be entertained during the lockdown.

    In the Philippines, consoles have been one of the indoor games promoted by toy retailers, especially as families can play these games together, or become involved in e-sports events with others.

    “As most sports have been halted, e-sports is in a unique position to fill the gap and boost interest in both playing and watching,” it said, adding e-sports has served as marketing campaigns for some developers.

    The report said the popularity of e-sports is contributing to the strong growth of video games in the Philippines.

    “Today, over 30 million Filipinos are gamers, while around 17 million watch e-sports tournaments online,” it added.

    The report said people who were encouraged to purchase a new console during the lockdown are now likely to keep buying new games for these devices.

    But those who turned to mobile games for the first time due to spending more time at home are likely to be hooked, and interested in trying different games in the forecast period.

    “However, video games were already on a strong rising trend before Covid-19, and growth is mainly expected to be due to the long-standing digitalization of play and education,” it added.

    “Therefore, mobile games are expected to remain the biggest and one of the fastest growing categories within video games in the forecast period.”

    The report said more developers are expected to recognize this trend and continue to introduce mobile versions of existing games, as well as remaining innovative and launching completely new products to maintain the interest of new gamers.

    “The industry remains optimistic that the strengthening of mobile games can also benefit other platforms, as more and more Filipinos will become aware of gaming through the mobile platform and may eventually transition to computer and console gaming,” it said.

    Partnership key to scale-up telemedicine

    A Department of Health (DOH) official has underscored the importance of partnership in scaling-up telemedicine in the country especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

    In a webinar, Director Enrique Tayag of the DOH Knowledge Management and Information Technology Service said the department launched its Covid-19 emergency hotline 1555 in partnership with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) and PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc.

    He said the DOH Covid-19 hotline further developed into an information and medical consultation service offering telemedicine.

    Tayag said telemedicine service integrated to a hotline or call center facilitates a patient’s initial triaging, consultation referral and/or emergency dispatch, if needed.

    He said the demand for telemedicine consultations has been increasing.

    “So we have to find ways how to help telemedicine services using a hotline model. So we partnered with the medical societies, with medical institutions, with the academe so we can provide a long list of telemedicine volunteers that can cater to the needs of those who access this platform,” he added.

    Tayag also cited the DOH Covid-19 telemedicine project where the department partners with telemedicine providers to offer free medical consultation

    “Let’s not forget best practices. Setting up technology becomes easier when the goal is clearer and when partners actually collaborate. The policies are back-up with evidence and data and there is third party monitoring,” he said.

    “We have to provide ICT (information communications technology) equipment and that includes connectivity. We have to have a coordinated strategy and of course the infrastructure should be there,” he added.

    Tayag said a local government unit (LGU)-based telemedicine is another model.

    He said that under this health facility-based model, community based model, general practicing doctor in barangay (village) health station or rural health unit see the patient physically and conducts telemedicine for follow-up visit or quarantine monitoring.

    The DOH partnered with Quezon City’s local government to deploy the country’s first end-to-end telemedicine project, which strengthens the LGU’s ability to provide patients access to medical consultation.

    “Quezon City successfully piloted a model for telemedicine that uses a healthcare delivery network,” he said.

    The department’s telemedicine project seeks to bolster the provision of primary care services to not only give patients quicker and more efficient access to medical consultation, but also to allow secondary and tertiary health care providers to focus on more serious cases that only they are capable of addressing.

    Keeping good relationships with customers virtually amid pandemic

    Businesses are advised to maintain good relationships with their customers virtually as they struggle to generate sales during the pandemic.

    “It takes a lot of efforts to keep a person loyal especially now that everything is going virtual. Virtually maintaining customer relationships is something we are yet to master and adapt to,”  said Synergizing Recovery Initiatives. Knowledge, and Adaptation Practices or SIKAP, a unified online business recovery hub that  helps micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) bounce forward to the ‘next normal’.

    SIKAP underscored the need for businesses to activate their social media platforms and “listen” to their customers.

    “Social media fills the gap between buyer-seller relationships during this pandemic. Make sure to be active in answering their messages and emails. Constant communication with your customers can go a long way with your relationship with them,” it said.

    Another way to keep good relationships with customers is taking their feedback which is “always essential for business to keep them satisfied”, it added.

    SIKAP listed ways to reach customers for feedback, including sending out surveys through email or private message, scheduling virtual focus group calls for writing customers, and posting automated polls and publication materials where they can comment on their feedback and
    suggestions.

    “It will not only maintain your relationship with your customers, it will also increase your engagement in social media where more people can acknowledge your company,” it added.

    The business recovery hub said it is also imperative for businesses to think “outside-the-box” to continuously impress customers by exceeding their expectations in a virtual setting.

    It cited as examples posting creative publication materials, campaigning for a good advocacy especially about the pandemic, and producing creative videos once in a while.

    “Try partnering with organizations who are campaigning for a cause that your company can potentially advocate for. Make sure it is a timely campaign and a good example is helping to resolve the Covid-19 pandemic,” it added.

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