by Edgard Hilario
When Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) made available its first batch of iPhone 5s units, the most forward-thinking smartphone in the world, and iPhone 5c, the most colorful iPhone yet, last Friday, it had one thing in mind — to help in the rescue and recovery effort of the typhoon Yolanda victims.
The decision to do away with fanfare in the launch of the much-awaited new iPhones was warmly welcomed by the leading telco’s throng of loyal subscribers who all agreed it is best to combine Smart technology with the iPhone wizardries to help the victims of the typhoon Yolanda.
“In deference to our brothers and sisters in need and to honor the Filipino spirit of bayanihan, we opted for a modest approach. We let various relief organizations use the space we already rented for their respective information and donation drives,” said Ramon Isberto, Smart’s Public Affairs Group head, when he spoke to the media the day before the launch.
Known for its grand launch events to welcome the coming of new iPhone models since December 2011, the recent simple, yet meaningful launch was held at the Eastwood Mall Open Park in Quezon City.
Representatives from the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF), The Philippine Red Cross and UNICEF Philippines joined the launch activity to encourage Smart subscribers to share their blessings and send help to those affected by typhoon Yolanda.
Internet for all
Internet connectivity proved to be an important tool for Filipinos to be updated on the various disaster response and relief efforts happening in the affected areas Visayas and Mindanao.
Isberto said that in the hardest-hit province of Tacloban, Smart worked on restoring the LTE signal to connect the typhoon survivors to their relatives all over the country and the world, and to assist in the collective efforts of the government, the media and various humanitarian institutions.
In a statement released before the devices were launched, Smart said the new iPhones will further boost Smart’s portfolio of smartphones capable of ultrafast LTE wireless Internet.
“We now have the most advanced smartphones in our lineup, and we have been leading in establishing a future-proof network ready for the surge in uptake of such devices,” said Charles Lim, Smart’s EVP and head of wireless consumer business. “With our biggest network and the most extensive LTE coverage in the country, we are ready to give our subscribers the best iPhone user experience.”
The iPhone 5s and 5c are now available in all Smart Stores nationwide.
The iPhone 5s (16GB, 32GB, 64GB) and iPhone 5c (16GB, 32GB) are available on Smart Postpaid’s Freedom Plan, All-In Plans 500, 800, 1200, 1800 and 2500; iPhone Plans 999 and 2499; UnliData Plans 1500, 2000 and 3000; and Smart Infinity Plans 3500, 5000 and 8000.
“With the variety of postpaid plans available for the iPhone, you can surely find one that’s perfect for your lifestyle and budget,” said Kathy Carag, head of Smart’s postpaid business group. “We offer a wide range of plans that fit your usage habits, which also come with easy and flexible cash-out options.”
For instance, subscribers can get the iPhone 5c (16 GB) for only P1,499 a month with the iPhone Plan 999 (P999 monthly service fee plus P500 device amortization via credit card).
iPhone Plan 999 already comes with 40 free all-net call minutes, 100 free all-net SMS and unlimited LTE connection.
Subscribers who will be availing of the iPhone 5s or iPhone 5c on Freedom Plan (Smart postpaid plan offering with no lock-out period and fixed monthly fees), will get free 250mb of data worth P300 every month for the entire first year of subscription.
Smart subscribers who wish to upgrade to the new iPhone offers but are currently within an active contract may choose to wipe out their existing contract for a discounted fee, without the need to surrender their existing device. Up to 75% can be deducted from the applicable fee.
Qualified subscribers who will avail of the Wipe Out program will also receive free one-year device insurance with Smart Gadget Shield which covers loss, theft and accidental damage. They are also entitled to discounts on iPhone accessories from partner establishments.