WHY  PLDT  myDSL  BECAME A MARKETING SUCCESS

MANILA, January 2, 2006
 (STAR) bull market, bull sheet By Wilson Lee Flores - One of the trendiest products of Manuel "Manny" Pangilinan’s Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), PLDT myDSL, recently became a success. For one, PLDT myDSL has been so deft and efficient that it has gobbled up 70 percent of the broadband Internet market in the country and is growing at 100 percent every year. It is also now boldly pushing an aggressive advertising campaign highlighting achievers as positive role models for the youth instead of hedonistic showbiz celebrities.

One corporate marketing strategy that should be commended and encouraged is the ongoing advertising campaign of PLDT myDSL to promote its price-busting Plan 999 offer with wholesome and brainy young achievers as endorsers.

Its massive billboard on Pioneer Street along EDSA features the winners of the 2005 Ten Outstanding Students of the Philippines (TOSP) awarded by RFM boss Joey Concepcion. All of them are subscribers of PLDT myDSL Plan 999 – Bryan Albert T. Lim (University of the Philippines Visayas), Jeffrey P. Mora (Far Eastern University), Beauregard Grant L. Cheng (De La Salle University), Joseph Patrick Echevarria (Ateneo de Manila University), Mehlan R. Josol (University of Southern Mindanao), Anna Theresa L. Licaros (University of the Philippines-Diliman), Kip F. Oebanda (San Beda College), Butch O. Saulon (University of Nueva Caceres), Bryan M. Ty (Ateneo de Davao University), and Kiran Tina M. Vaswani (Ateneo de Manila University).

Others in the PLDT myDSL Plan 999 Young Achievers Billboard include Ateneo straight-A student and model Georgina Wilson, Oliver To, Cholo Ramirez, Formula 3 teenage racer Tyson Sy and Patricia Evangelista.

The young team behind PLDT myDSL are themselves young and driven achievers – senior product manager Marc Concio, who has both management engineering and economics degrees from the Ateneo de Manila University, and assistant Thomas Ting, a magna cum laude graduate of computer science from De La Salle University. Helping them promote their product is Ateneo-educated beauty Angelique "Anj" Gaston. PLDT myDSL is under PLDT’s retail business group headed by Mernardo "Butch" Jimenez Jr.

The high-velocity PLDT myDSL makes quality broadband Internet of 384 kbps (kilo bytes per second) more accessible and affordable for its users for only P 999 per month. It was launched in October 2000 with only one staff, Marc Concio, and a total budget of P1.3 million. In 2005, the product’s revenues hit P2 billion andthey expect to reach a minimum of 100 percent growth this year. "I don’t know of any other product in the Philippines that’s growing this fast," Concio said. "We at PLDT hope to register double or 100 percent revenue growth every year with PLDT myDSL."

What is incredible about this roaring success is PLDT myDSL’s lowering costs through the years. It was P2,500 per month in 2003, then P1,500 per month at speed of only 128 kbps. In July this year, they slashed their price to only P999 per month and tripled the broadband speed to 384 kbps. Even for business packages, the rate is an affordable P3,000 per month at higher committed speed of at least double the P999 Plan.

The Philippines has a population of 84 million people, of whom an estimated two million have access to the Internet in offices, homes or through Internet cafes. Of this total, there are 500,000 home users of the Internet. Marc Concio said: "There are only 130,000 broadband Internet subscribers in the Philippines, and we shall work harder to bring this convenient and efficient technology to more people, especially to the youth and to far-flung rural communities. Through PLDT myDSL wireless broadband technology and Smart WiFi, we can even service communities with no telephone landline facilities. We can provide broadband Internet access almost anywhere in the Philippines, provided you’re near a Smart-based station."

PLDT myDSL is one of the Philippine economy’s unheralded success stories in these times of political tumult and high world oil prices. Through savvy marketing, advanced Internet infrastructure and integrated networking facilities, it has grown to dominate the DSL market with an estimated 84,000 myDSL subscribers nationwide. It commands an incredible 70 percent of small and medium-scale business clients throughout the Philippines. PLDT myDSL is also the leader in servicing the Internet cafe and network gaming markets nationwide. Netopia president Raymond Ricafort said that in a survey, 6,700 Internet cafes out of the total of 8,000 Internet cafes nationwide use PLDT myDSL.

Why the non-traditional marketing blitz using brainy or sports-minded young achievers and students instead of the usual showbiz celebrities? Concio said: "Though we service people of all ages, our primary target market is the youth, those estimated 40 million young people ages 22 and below. Through PLDT myDSL, we want to spread this message to all our young people. You don’t have to be just pretty or popular to be a real young achiever. We hope to promote positive and wholesome moral values among the youth. Starting February this year, we at PLDT myDSL plan to give free broadband Internet service to all schools – especially the public schools – together with Microsoft and Intel as our partners. We are optimistic about 2006, and we are investing in the future of the youth."

PLDT myDSL should inspire all entrepreneurs to do more business, ignore the doomsayers and aggressively seek out golden opportunities. The phenomenal success of PLDT myDSL proves that private sector efficiency, marketing savvy, commitment to better services, keen sensitivity to the needs and changing tastes of Philippine society, and bullish faith in a better future can defy all the economic uncertainties caused by our rotten-to-the-core corrupt politics.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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