Mass Market Access to Home Internet Innovations Key to a Stronger and More Connected Philippines
PHOTO CAPTION: Martha Sazon, SVP and Head of Broadband Business at Globe, discussed the role of home internet innovations in the digital transformation and enablement of developing countries at AfricaCom 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa.
A connected home is the first step towards a digitally powered nation, as the home is where most learnings in life start, according to Senior Vice President and Head of Broadband Business Martha Sazon at the recently concluded AfricaCom 2019 at Cape Town International Convention Center in South Africa.
Speaking at a VIP forum, Sazon discussed the business case of growing prepaid internet penetration in a developing society such as the Philippines, where similar to South Africa, the mid- to lower-income segments are predominant and prepaid as a payment option is most relevant. She divulged on Globe’s broadband network strategy of pioneering prepaid home internet innovations as one of the primary catalysts in the digital transformation of the Philippines.
“We operate in a country that is small but highly social and connected. According to We Are Social’s PH Internet 2019 report, our internet usage is at 71% versus the 57% global benchmark… and we are very active in social media at 71% versus the global benchmark of 45%,” shared Sazon. “Internet at home in the Philippines is commonly used for entertainment and life enablement. For instance, moms now go online for their home businesses like reselling products from e-commerce platforms such as Lazada. The youth, on the other hand, use the internet as a “life-hack” tool for acquiring skills such as learning to code or even getting access to job opportunities.”
Despite this huge demand for home internet connectivity, there remains to be a huge percentage of Filipino households who have limited to no internet access. Only one out of five homes in the country are said to have Internet access, with the majority of unconnected homes (19 million) belonging to the lower socio-economic segments (C2DE). This is due to the lack of more affordable home internet packages in the market and limited in-home coverage.
To address these pain points, Globe introduced the Globe At Home Prepaid WiFi in 2017, the first home prepaid internet device in the country. A breakthrough in the industry, Globe At Home Prepaid WiFi is an affordable plug-and-play reloadable device that is twice as fast and wider in coverage than the usual pocket WiFi. Customers also get free 10 GB of data upon device activation that can easily be used by up to six devices for everyone in the family—all for the price of just P1,499 (USD30).
The introduction of this innovation proved to be instrumental in the sustained growth of the total broadband business of the telco giant, expanding its cumulative subscribers to over twice from the same period in 2018. Such development also paved the way to the birth of another key innovation—the Globe Streamwatch Xtreme Prepaid, the world's first all-in-one device that serves as Prepaid WiFi device, Android TV, digital free TV box and karaoke-ready machine all for a one-time payment of P2,999 (under USD60).
“We will continue making our fixed wireless network more robust in the succeeding years, for both prepaid segment and specific segments across the postpaid spectrum,” Sazon stated. “A digital nation takes root inside a connected home. This is why we aim to continuously transform internet habituation in Filipino families—to upgrade home internet experience and benefits from basic connectivity and entertainment to more sustainable ends like enablement opportunities through making it more accessible to more households.”
Globe At Home aims to connect 2M households through high-speed internet by 2020. With a solid expansion strategy and device innovations in place, this vision is well on its way to becoming a reality.