Why Red Mobile is the new umobile?
When rumors were going around that umobile is rebranding and will now be named Red Mobile, I asked around from sources and confirmed the closure of what have the first ad-supported mobile service in Asia.
On April 28, 2008, PLDT disclosed to the SEC that it has bought CURE from Bobby Ongpin for a total amount of Php419.54 million and along with it, the allocation of 10 Mhz in the 2100 Mhz band.
Smart also disclosed it will be investing an additional Php210 Million which it says will operate independently, resulting to the new service called umobile. In essence, Smart got the 3G license and additional bandwidth while umobile will ride on Smart’s network.
According to a source close to someone inside umobile:
- umobile will cease to exist. Operations of umobile have been merged with Smart and several people were let go due to the resulting redundancies.
- Red Mobile will now be the new brand of the mobile service, much like how Addict Mobile was positioned by Smart for the niche crowd.
- The ad-supported model is still in question. It might continue; it might not. But based on the re-branding, my guess is that it won’t go as originally planned. Otherwise, they would have just stuck to the brand and just consolidated operations.
What might have happened? It could be one of many things.
- My source said, Smart was only interested in the 3G license. Maybe that’s why we’ve seen Smart 3G (Smart Bro) go up to 2Mbps recently.
- umobile didn’t get much traction and might have missed their milestone of 10,000 subscribers by year-end.
- There were also problems with interconnectivity with other telcos like Globe and Sun Cellular.
- Companies didn’t bite the ad-supported model. This one is a bit curious since they set-up was really targeted. It’s also possible that a userbase of under 10,000 is too little to run an SMS-based campaign.
Will update this once I get additional info. I never even used my umobile credits. Still, for some, it was good while it lasted.
Disclosure: Smart is an advertiser on this blog.