Makati City, May 13, 2003 -- Sun Cellular of Digitel, owned by the 
Gokongwei, is hoped to muscle in on the lucrative cellular market through a 
tried and tested formula, price-cutting.

Smart, dominant cellular phone player, has pulled the rug from under Sun, 
issuing cheaper cards, "tingi" system, following the successful "sachet" 
marketing pioneered by shampoo producers.

This "sachet" marketing proved to be so effective, most consumer items from 
catsup and now cellular pre-paid cards are in sachets.

Smart is introducing Smart Buddy Load, the over-the-air (OTA) prepaid 
reloading service that will offer airtime in 'sachet-like' packages, making 
cellular services more affordable and accessible to a broader market of 
cellphone users.

Airtime and text packages can now be had for as low as P30.

Dubbed as The OTA reloading service will make available three types of 
"retail" packages: 'Economy', 'Regular' and 'Extra' load. An Economy load 
with a retail price of P30, for example, can be used to send 30 text 
messages or make 3-6 minutes worth of voice call.

A Regular load with a retail price of P60, on the other hand, can be used 
to send 60 text messages or make 6-13 minutes worth of calls.

The Extra Load, with a retail price of P115, can be used to send 125 text 
messages or make 12-25 minutes worth of calls. The packages can also be 
used for a combination of text and voice calls.

"This is another innovation in Philippine telecommunications that is a 
world first. This is the first phone-to-phone electronic reloading service 
offering such affordable packages to a much broader market," said Napoleon 
Nazareno, Smart president and CEO.

Smart has been offering OTA reloading since the introduction of Smart 
Money, an electronic cash card linked to a phone, in 2001. Using the cash 

Smart cell phone users can reload their prepaid Buddy phones in amounts 
ranging from P250 to P1000 at any given time.

"Buddy Load is the answer to the dreams of many ordinary consumers. It is 
an affordable and convenient means of loading one's prepaid phone. Smart 
Buddy Load prepaid packs sell for as low as P30. And it offers the 
convenience of being easily available at sari-sari stores. We believe it 
will be a household word in no time," said Anastacio R. Martirez, head of 
Smart's personal communications and mobile services division.

"In fact, aside from benefiting our more than 9.5 million prepaid 
subscribers, Buddy Load will make it possible for people to build lucrative 
micro-businesses," he added. "What we are doing here is replicating the 
success of the sachet concept in consumer goods industry and applying it to 
the telecom industry."

Using this service, a retailer uses his cellphone to load airtime 
over-the-air into a subscriber's phone. No cards are needed for this 

Instead, a text message will be sent by the Smart system to the subscriber, 
informing him or her of the amount of text or equivalent airtime available 
and the load expiry for the airtime package reloaded.

Each type of package has a prescribed period: 3 days for Economy, 6 days 
for Regular and 12 days for Extra. This means that for an Economy load, for 
example, a subscriber can send text or make voice calls within a period of 
3 days.

Likewise, the SIM validity period or the maximum allowable time that a 
subscriber can receive text and voice calls is 30 days for both Economy and 
Regular packages, and 60 days for Extra.

Danny Ibarra, Smart's e-services department said the packages were designed 
based on the current usage behavior of Smart's prepaid subscribers. Smart 
prepaid subscribers, for example, typically send about 10 text messages a day.

He added that SIM validity would depend on the type of OTA reload package 
selected. Ibarra said that a load of P300-1000 would maintain the standard 
SIM validity of 120 days.

"Smart Buddy Load will be more efficient because it will be faster and will 
allow remote loading. We will eliminate incidents of such problems as card 
overscratching and wrong PIN encoding. At the same, prepaid users now enjoy 
a wide range of choices for reloads," he added.

The new OTA reloading service will be made available at SMART wireless 
centers and TSI outlets and in various mom &pop outlets and neighborhood 
sari-sari stores. (By RACHELLE FRIGINAL, Malaya)

Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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