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‘Free’ internet: Is it worth it?

Telecom rivals have announced their aces for all their prepaid subscribers this week: Smart with free 30MB mobile internet everyday until November 30, and again Globe with free Facebook starting next week. The next question that comes to mind: Are these really beneficial, or are they charge-bait promos that will give us more headaches?


Free internet is… well, free internet. Promos like these would greatly benefit those who are active online, as they can easily check on their own circles, and get updated wth the latest happenings. More browsing time online would mean more chances to reach your loved ones, or check up on very urgent matters that may arise from our everyday lives. With the start of the telecommunication networks’ free internet promos, what would we be seeing in the coming days?

  • More frustrated postpaid customers. The new data promos (Smart’s free internet, in this case) only affect the prepaid sector of the networks. Postpaid consumers are left out once again, complaining over our comments and social media channels. These are some, if not all, the same postpaid suscribers that were also complaining about the forthcoming…
  • More congested mobile internet connection. With the addition of the prepaid subscribers to the mobile internet traffic, we can expect slower internet connection as it will be shared by more subscribers than the usual. The slow connection just got… slower. Smart by the way mentioned that their network is ready to accommodate the increasing congestion. Quoted tweet is from is Abbie Real, Social Media Manager for Smart/Sun/TNT.

  • Overspending by charge-bait outbound links or surfing over the limit. If you are careless about tracking your online activity with your smartphones, you might get charged with prepaid credits as your data activity is bound to be more than what is free. That includes watching videos or clicking outbound links inside the facebook app, or visiting websites that are data-hungry, or by simply leaving your sync settings on. We’ve ran down some tips on how to save your data in the long run here, which might help you minimize your bandwidth spending.
  • A cover-up to the present-day issues plaguing the internet service industry? Let us not forget that we are still the country with the slowest internet speed in the ASEAN region. Recently, PLDT was called up to the Senate for hearings about IP peering issues. Is Smart’s free internet (and subsequently, Globe’s Free FB) move a way to eliminate the bad publicity their company (PLDT) has been getting as of the late?
  • Not everyone has access to the internet, so this won’t be easily utilized. A research conducted by Gallup in 2013 revealed that 4 out of 5 Filipinos do not have access to the internet. That may not be the case now, as local brands like Cherry Mobile, MyPhone and Starmobile paved the way for the masses to purchase internet-enabled phones and smartphones at more affordable prices.

At the end of the day, is all the effort done by the telecoms to provide ‘free’ internet worth it? Maybe. A winning situation for prepaid users who do not spend much on internet packages, and the losing end is the postpaid segment of the telecom market who actually pays for the ‘unlimited’ internet service. This is based from previous experiences with promos like these: when someone gives out something for free, there is and there will always be a catch to it. The thing is, this should not be the telecom’s favor for us but rather our right from them. We have to assert our right to equal internet for all… and maybe a faster one too.

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Avatar for Carl Lamiel

Get in touch with Carl at @lamielcarl on Twitter or visit his website for more updates!

17 Responses

  1. Avatar for Just in Just in says:

    “@iamMVP: Even better – free internet now open to ALL prepaid, postpaid & broadband subs of Smart, TNT & Sun #SmartFREEInternet for ALL @SmartCares”

  2. Avatar for Miles Delgado Miles Delgado says:

    Nice initiative from Smart. This can really benefit those who don’t have enough money to access the internet. What a way to Live More. Kudos MVP.

  3. Avatar for Gracie Dominguez Gracie Dominguez says:

    Why can’t people just be thankful? Buti nga may 30mb/day pang libre ngayon

  4. Avatar for Tara Dunca Tara Dunca says:

    What a wonderful way for Smart to let some of our fellow kababayans to explore the use of internet using their mobile phones. We have been recognized as the ‘Texting Capital of the World’. Why not be the ‘Most Cultivated and Active Internet users’.

  5. Avatar for dawn ballesteros dawn ballesteros says:

    salamat po sa libreng serbisyo sa smart, tnt, sun at globe, pero sana inuna ng globe ang pagpapaganda ng network nila. :( naka dual sim ako, mas madalas okay signal ko sa tnt. hay. :|

  6. Avatar for Stan Stan says:

    Since messaging services are not included like viber, what will happen if I receive viber messages? will it be additional services?

    • Avatar for SunCell Subscriber SunCell Subscriber says:

      You won’t be able to receive Viber messages. Your phone still needs outgoing data to poll data from Viber’s servers.

  7. Avatar for natsirt natsirt says:

    gamit kayo na OPERA MAX data manager

  8. Avatar for crash crash says:

    Free internet + psiphon = up to 1 Gb/day

  9. Avatar for Ace Ople Ace Ople says:

    Hi Carl:

    Correction, Globe’s FREE FB is both for PREAPAID and POSTPAID subscribers. Thanks

  10. Avatar for taenayan taenayan says:

    di nga makareg sa smart FREE to 9999 BUSET …..

  11. Avatar for bbhater bbhater says:

    blackberry is excempted again.

  12. Avatar for rjp913 rjp913 says:

    our local Telecos doesnt give importance to post paid subscribers. i really dont understand.. we are always left out of promos! they would give you a penalty if you are to avail of a promo because you have to pay on top of your plan! shouldnt it be the other way around!? 3G speed sucks! LTE coverage here in Cebu is FALSELY advertised! NTC is an IDIOT! they wont do their mandated job. would only wait if a complaint is on filed!

    • Avatar for taenayan taenayan says:

      sabi nga ng chairman ng NTC hindi daw MANDATORY ANG INTERNET BONUS LANG DAW YON ..
      eh ginagamit na nga ang internet sa mga works
      katang@ ….

    • Avatar for archie archie says:

      Baka naman under payroll ang NTC ng mga telco lobbyist. Kayo naman gusto lang naman rumaket ng mga taga NTC kaya nasabi nila na bonus lang ang internet. What do you expect from a govt. agency na ayaw hayaang magkaroon ng foreign competitors ang mga local telcos? Oh wait, parang karamihan sa mga govt. politicians ay may stocks at investments din sa PLDT, Meralco, at Globe. Coincidence?

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