MANILA, February 6, 2006
 (STAR) By Mary Ann Ll. Reyes - WeRoam, the wireless innovation of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) that gives full-time mobile Internet connectivity, has joined the prepaid bandwagon.

According to PLDT officials, the prepaid WeRoam version can be availed of by getting the wireless GPRS/EDGE card equipped with three months unlimited WeRoam for as low as P12,600 or at zero interest plan of P1,050 per month for 12 months in major credit cards. Also available in zero interest plans are the latest HP and ThinkPad laptops that are equipped with PLDT WeRoam.

"This is the fulfillment of our promise to provide wireless connectivity service to transients in the country as well as students and prospective users who have laptops but are not frequent users of wireless broadband service, and therefore do not need to subscribe to a postpaid service. We developed this package to suit this specific need." PLDT senior vice president for corporate business group Ernesto Alberto said.

Company officials noted that techies and businesses have been raving about PLDT WeRoam, and with good reason. "More and more people are reading and seeing about it in gadget magazines and exhibits. Now is the time to experience PLDT WeRoam for yourself," they said.

Participating HP or ThinkPad PC shops include Accent Micro/ PC Live, Complink/E-Hub, Electroworld, HP Home & Business Center, HP Store (DLSU-Taft), The Computer Authority, Villman, Silicon Valley, and Ng Khai Cebu.

Earlier, Alberto told The STAR that the wireless broadband service of PLDT is expected to gain significant headway this year as subscriber base is projected to almost quadruple compared to last year.

From 5,500 customers as of end of 2005, the company anticipates that its subscriber base for its WeRoam brand of wireless broadband service will reach 25,000 this year. WeRoam was introduced by PLDT only in March 2005.

Alberto revealed that much of the growth will come from the prepaid wireless broadband service.

Alberto said PLDT has only reached a small percentage of the market for wireless broadband service so far.

International Data Corp. (IDC) and Microsoft figures show that as of last year, the official laptop count in the country is 422,000 units or a 25-percent growth from 2004. The number is expected to grow this year and next year by 23 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

Unofficial count, however, estimates the number of notebook PCs in the Philippines at almost a million units, of which 75 percent are corporate users, and 25 percent, non-corporate individuals. The official data is based on numbers culled from official laptop dealers in the country while the unofficial count is higher because it considers notebooks that are directly brought into the country from abroad and not through dealers.

WeRoam service is primarily geared towards on-the-go executives, roving executives and remote offices, and for far-flung offices local area network or LAN. With PLDT WeRoam Mobile, executives who are traveling most of the time can gain unlimited wireless broadband connectivity from their laptops or PDAs (personal digital assistants) via GPRS (general packet radio service) and EDGE technologies.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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