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5 things I missed about our tech in the Philippines

For the last 3 weeks now, I’ve been to three European states and have seen and experienced the advancement of technology in these first-world countries. It’s oftentimes amazing but once in a while, I would miss the ones I enjoyed in the Philippines.

We oftentimes feel that we’re shortchanged in terms of technology and for a third-world country, that’s pretty much expected. Yet, every time I go around here and check out some stuff, I’d realize we got it pretty good back in the Philippines.

Official Apple Stores — where iDevices are more expensive.

Cheaper Gadgets. I’ve been to at least 3 Apple Stores in Germany, Amsterdam and France and all of them were selling the new iPad for much higher that what we expected if it were officially released in the Philippines. Back home, we’d expect around Php23,999 for the 16GB WiFi-only model but here, it’s between 479 to 489 euros (Php26k to Php27k). This is true with any type or category of gadgets being sold here.

Widespread Access to Mobile Prepaid Cards. Back home, you can buy a prepaid mobile SIM at almost any tiangge or sari-sari store. The stalls will sell it to you like candy. In Europe, you have to provide an identification card (in my case, a passport) for the most part and it’s not easy to find a store that has prepaid SIM cards. In the Philippines, we get it for under a euro; in Europe, it costs between 5 to 15 euros.

Panoramic view from the top of the Eiffel Tower taken with the Sony Xperia S.

Affordable, Uncapped Mobile 3G. Our mobile 3G might be a bit slower or inconsistent in the Philippines but at least it’s not generally capped. Still if you’re talking about that 800MB a day cap from Globe prepaid (postpaid is not capped), then it’s still vey generous. With the 2 prepaid data SIM I used in Germany, it’s 200MB for O2 and 300MB for T-Mobile — and that’s not daily but cumulative. Once you hit the cap, you’re throttled down to 64Kbps until you buy more bandwidth (1GB for 10 euros).

Unblocked Content. At least I experienced this when watching YouTube. A lot of the official MTVs are blocked because there’s no permit to play them in the country (I think it was UMG-produced music videos or something).

Where are the internet cafes? In the entire time I’ve gone around, I think I only spotted 2 or 3 internet cafes. It’s not that popular compared to the thriving net cafe business in the Philippines. I guess it’s because almost every household has a PC and internet already but I’m also looking at multi-player, LAN games.

Great looking Starbucks building in Hamburg. But no WiFi, not even paid.

Oh, there’s not a lot of free WiFi as well. The only time I was able to sniff an open and free WiFi network was inside the Apple Stores in Hamburg and then inside the Louvre Museum. Even our hotel charges for WiFi (9 euros for 5 hours).

Of course, I’m not saying we’re better off. These countries are far ahead of us in just so many levels. Loved that automatic, self-cleaning public toilet; the self-service, credit card-based city bicycle for rent; the super-fast, wired internet service; and so many more.

I guess I could still say that tech is more fun in the Philippines! *heh*

Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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29 Responses

  1. pabs says:

    Yes, its true…It’s really more fun in the Philippines (if you’re talking about gadgets and the internet, yes we are luckier and most often, taken for granted).

  2. Joyce says:

    OT: Sir Abe, I can’t help but notice you call Music videos “MTV”! I used to do that too! Kinda reveals age hehehe younger (born in mid 90s or later) kids don’t even know what MTV is anymore LOL.

  3. Faust says:

    It makes me wonder why there’s this big disparity.

  4. James says:

    agreed with pabs, tech in the Phil is taken for granted by most of us…

  5. Neil says:

    I think you really have to pay for mobile data in MB’s and GB’s in most countries, but your speed is not throttled. I prefer that kind of charging instead of time-based, or speed-based charging. I’m talking about mobile data, not wired Internet services, i.e. DSL.

  6. Jumz says:

    I am most shocked in the “not lots of free WiFi” scene… I thought most of European countries are wified… I heard that in, I think, Sweden???, having an internet connection is a statutory right so having a WiFi in every corner is given… hhmmmm… Tnx for these infos… :)

  7. Franky says:

    Two things to take into consideration:
    1. Taxes in most countries are 18% and higher, compared with 12%
    2. Internet cafes are often replaced with free Internet access at libraries for local citizens. Other than that in recent years many schools, and councils, have started programms to help people on lower incomes with the purchase of netbooks or a basic desktop PC. And more and more councils are working at free wireless access city wide, as well as high speed Internet access (avg. in many towns now above 5Mbps) as a right for everyone.

    I understand how it is easy to oversee certain elements, and just as certain things are ‘cultural’, others are just as ‘cultural’ in Europe.

    PS: Uncapped, or fair usage limit of 800MB, is not bound to last forever. Whoever thinks it will is a dreamer.

  8. tonybac says:

    Sabi nga nila dito sa Saudi, pag nandito ka na, wag mo ng isipin masyado ang conversion, magugutom ka lang. Well, sabihin na nga nating mas mahal ang gadget sa ibang bansa kumpara sa Pinas, pero, at least dito, sa loob lang ng 1 sahuran, kaya ko ng makabili ng iPad at makakapagpadala pa ng pera, may matira pang pang-gastos, hindi ko magagawa yung sa Pilipinas, kahit na sa parehong job position…

  9. Mica says:

    I like this article. Yes, our country has some flaws. But so do other countries. It’s just that with them, they emphasize the positives. We should continue to do this. Focus on the positivity! :)

  10. Crimson says:

    “Back home, you can buy a prepaid mobile SIM at almost any tiangge or sari-sari store. The stalls will sell it to you like candy. In Europe, you have to provide an identification card (in my case, a passport) for the most part ” — That’s the reason why we have a lot of text scammers and bombers in the philippines because the law enforcement is not able to trace if that prepaid number was bought by whom.. This is not new anymore, and this is also implemented in Singapore, Malaysia, etc. Tau lang ang daming takot like privacy ek ek…

  11. Benchmark says:

    IMO, kaya naman maraming negatives lang sa PH eh dahil madaming sugapa sa pera…

    alot of corruption not only in our government, but also in Private companies…

    Regardless how big or small yung tax, or how much money we earn and pay tax, a lot of laws, pero kung ninanakaw lang yung tax na binabayad mo, hinde naman sumusunod sa mga batas…still hinde pa din aasenso tayo.

    I think other countries started with discipline lang talaga kaya sila umunlad nang ganyan.

  12. fshumayrqan says:

    Tama ka bench but FREEDOM IN DEVELOP COUNTRY NOT FREE coz ROCKET HIGH TAXES. punta ka ng canada free wifi kahit saan at 4g lte na hehe

  13. Our country has a lot to offer in terms of cheap gadgets. Our main problem is security.
    That’s why most developed countries need your passport or ID when buying a sim card.

  14. Iyan Sommerset says:

    Europeans are notorious for giving up their freedoms for greater security, safety nets, etc. That’s why despite it’s shortcomings, I’d still prefer the USA.

  15. redmd says:

    What do you mean globe post paid is not capped? Globe is just like Smart. I hope Sun cellular will not cap their post paid mobile internet.

    • itachi1 says:

      Sir Abe’s info is accurate, Globe Postpaid’s mobile data is NOT capped. Even if you exceed your data allotment in, let’s say Powersurf, you can still use data without any restrictions. Prepaid is the only one capped at 800MB.

  16. jego207 says:

    This article makes me happy somehow. Haha. You’re right, I took Philippine technology for granted.

  17. Abiel says:

    wait’ til you get to Saudi Arabia… that’s where you’ll feel the effect of those blocked contents.

  18. obed says:

    proud to be pinoy..

  19. Paolo says:

    Proud to be pinoy yes pero napapaisip din ako..should I stay here pa or alis na lang ng ibang bansa? Naguguluhan din ako, I think I need direction.. hahaha

  20. Paolo says:

    Proud to be pinoy yes pero napapaisip din ako..should I stay here pa or alis na lang ng ibang bansa? Naguguluhan din ako, I think I need direction.. hahaha

    • Fshumayrqan says:

      Alis ka na lng. kong tech ang paguusapan wala ang pinas sa develop country, mura ang cellphone at highest speed dahil 4g na halos lahat ng develop country and cheap laptop at napakabilis ng internet line nothing ang pinas compare sa develop country and one more you’ll get the latest gadget on earth. yong author visitor lng siya sa europe so bias. example kong uuwi ako ng pinas para sa akin mahal ang internet dyan at piling pili ang free wifi dahil hindi national at lalong hindi ako bibili ng gadget dyan madaling masira, eh ditto puede mong palitan. good luck.

  21. Fshumayrqan says:

    BIAS na bias ang author dahil tourist lng siya, hindi mo maikupara ang isang bansa sa isang araw na stay mo sa isang lugar. talagang mahal kong bisita ka lng, but to be fair majority of develop country ang tourist spot ay asia hindi dahil sa gadget or technology but the cost of living dahil mura lng to stay.

    • popsicle says:

      Yes, Author is Biased because he is a tourist. But tourists coming over to the Philippines experience the same privileges as the locals have. SIM cards, internet connection. Its easier.

      If you travel to another country its expensive obviously. But if you work in another country (which you obviously are), it is one of the rights of those under permanent and work visas to get those.

      I just think that itll take light years from where we are to that first world country technology that we vie for. What we reap is what we will sow.

  22. Jacob says:

    Good point. I agree except the SIM card part. Most countries know and understand how prepaid SIM cards are being used by criminal elements, hence have stricter requirements before purchase. It’s no fun when prepaid SIM cards are used by kidnap for ransom gangs.

  23. berto delos santos says:

    I was in Europe last may and had no problem at all finding prepaid cards. I never had to show my ID in France, Netherlands and Germany. I think probably you had a communication problem talking taglish in countries where they understand the oxford english and not the american slang

  24. John says:

    This article is laughable as it’s complete misinformation. Gadgets of the same quality typically cost 30+% more in the Philippines, if you can find them at all. If you find a cheaper gadget, it’s because it’s a “different” model with cheaper components and less features (including warranty and manual) or a Chinese fake… Mobile prepaid cards (phone and internet) are typically a quick fix, and a complete rip-off, which is why you only find them in the Philippines and is why people text here instead of make phone calls… What you found sounds like the exception, not the norm as internet in PI is highway robbery in comparison to other 1st world countries. With pldt, I paid P2650/mo for 2mbps dsl that was down or slow 50% of the time in a 6 month period for which I never received credit, not to mention the p10000 cancellation fee for crappy service if holding less than 2 years. I would pay considerably less for 5-15mbps in a 1st world country. I found this article due to google searches into why my 2mbps globe dsl connection (for P1299/mo) has been running consistently at .1mpbs for 5 days now. First off, this kind of service is rare in 1st world countries, but then the issue would first be acknowledged and then you would most certainly be credited… I’m constantly blocked on youtube, hulu, netflix, etc. for content not available in PI… Internet is everywhere in 1st world countries for free (coffee shops, McDos, etc.) so there’s no need to pay p20 per half hour as internet cafe’s are generally for people who can’t afford a computer or internet. Plus, all the internet cafes I’ve been to here in PI are running pirated Windows with a multitude of issues (viruses, malware, malfunctioning hardware, etc.) so I don’t know how you could miss that as it takes half your paid time waiting for the computer to respond. Anyway, nice feel good article about PI, but it’s simply false when generally speaking about tech in PI. Feel free to keep dreaming though. For those that have never left PI, you simply don’t know how bad you really have it. Also, feel free to attack my post, but the sooner you accept the truth, the sooner things will be better.

    • John says:

      P.S. I don’t have twitter, so my twitter Id is not 7058, and I’m not sure why it listed that as I left the twitter field blank. No, I don’t have a virus. Let’s see if it does it again when I hit Submit…

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