Why Smart had to kill Unlisurf Packages in favor of Surf Max
Starting this month, Smart is shifting it’s mobile data services from UnliSurf to SurfMax for postpaid, prepaid and SmartBro subscribers. The new offer starts October 31, 2015 to April 30, 2016 for prepaid and SmartBro subscribers and November, 2015 to April 30, 2016 for postpaid users.
Smart has followed in the same footsteps at Globe’s GoSurf which was introduced back in May 2014.
Back in November 2014, we also reported that Smart has also removed their UnliData Plans in favor of capped Data Plans (see here).
— Smart Communications (@SMARTCares) November 5, 2015
So the question is, why is Smart shifting from an already successful and well-subscribed mobile data services (UnliSurf) to the new strategy which is SurfMax? The answer is hinted in this FAQ on the SurfMax page:
What are the features of this product?
Smart SurfMax allows subscribers to enjoy all day surfing up to 800MB/day at optimal speeds. Once this is consumed, all day surfing services will still be active but connection quality may vary until 12 midnight.
To help subscribers better manage their daily usage, this service will send them free text alerts once daily usage reaches 640MB (80%) and 800MB (100%).
Upon reaching their Smart SurfMax daily limit, subscribers may also switch to any Smart Big Bytes offering to continue enjoying optimal speeds. They may do so by texting BIG
to 9999 (Example: BIG50 to 9999). For a complete list of Smart Big Bytes packages, they may also visit www.smart.com.ph/pages/bigbytes.
Technically SurfMax is not exactly capped. It’s throttled. This means that once you hit the 800MB allocation, we are still able to connect to the internet for the entire 24 hours of the subscription. Theoretically, your maximum potential data allocation is 800MB + (135kbps Edge speed x 24 hours) = 800MB + 1,458MB = 2.258GB per day.
For the monthly (30 days) subscribers, that’s 24GB of optimal speeds plus 43.74GB of sub-optimal speeds.
Smart’s decision to set the daily limit at 800MB is to ensure that mobile data users would not switch to Globe which already has an 800MB limit for prepaid users for many years.
If a subscribers want to download more than 800MB of data in a single day at optimal speeds, they are allowed to subscribe to Smart’s Big Bytes plan which offers an additional 18GB of consumable data for Php2,500.
To go around this, we suggest subscribing to
Big Byte Plan 299 SurfMax 995 + Anti-Bill Shock 999 for a monthly service fee of Php1,994 to bypass the capping.
It becomes pretty obvious that the switch from UnliSurf to SurfMax is a business move to upsell services to heavy data users. Smart’s parent company, PLDT, has had a slow year last year and almost negligible net profit this year (1% from recent investor reports). Hence, one of the potentially huge channel for revenue growth is in mobile data. Looks like PLDT/Smart is learning from Globe’s strategy that it has already put in place for a couple of years which is why they’re posting double-digit growth (14%) since last year.