Mobile phones, services and applications. PCs, PDAs, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Internet, gadgets, electronics, photography. A technology-life journal ... Relaxed prose, sometimes witty, sometimes funny, reflective and insightful. Short and sweet. Filipino.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Smart Partner

(Sequel to Smart Padala, Sweaty Padilla)

Next up, Smart Partner.

Bottom-line of this service: use a phone and SIM as a public calling and texting station and as a loading station. This service is designed for rural country-side areas.

Here are other random thoughts I have of Smart Partner:

From Suyo to Tubo - What Smart has done is create a business model which taps into the D & E market in the provinces. They made monetary incentives for setting-up the public cellphone service.

I think I know rural areas well enough to say that it's not unusual to request for the use of a friend or neighbor's cellphone (makiki-gamit, makiki-suyo).

But, from the owner's perspective, it's not easy to charge a friend (singil) for the use of the phone. "Nakaka-hiya."

From the perspective of the borrower, it's rude to use a friend's phone too often especially if he/she doesn't pay.

What Smart Partner does is creates a business environment that formalizes the public use of a cellphone (tubo or kita). Wala nang hiya, hiya, wala nang suyo suyo.

Ang bagong plaza - The social dynamics of Smart Partner public calling station will be interesting. These stations will become convergence points. I imagine women with their babies trooping to Ka Nena's calling station not necessarily to call but to keep in touch with "the latest" gossip in and outside the barrio.

Bagong Bespren - I also foresee a new kind of informal influence or power to the public phone operator, a Smart Partner we will call "Ka Salvie".

Imagine the high school principal or barangay captain suddenly compelled to visit Ka Salvie because her phone is the easiest way to contact DepEd or the mayor. Ka Salvie will even have first take when receiving text replies from superintendent or meyor.

Sakit ng ulo - If Ka Salvie doesn't handle thing well, she can get un-necessary headaches. This will happen if some messages or calls aren't delivered as expected. Barrio quabbles can get blown out of proportion.

Productivity increased - This public calling business is quite convenient. Ka Salvie can bring along her phone as she goes around the house or field doing her usual work.

Trade - One big value-added is the facilitation of trade and commerce. It will be easier to get market prices of goods or find out availbility of inputs such as fertilizers. Cottage or home industries will be able to take orders of their products through their new mode of communication.

Inuman na! Hoy hoy hoy, hoy hoy hoy! -- Come nightfall, I could imagine men gathered 'round clear bottles of gin, minds not so clear, and chipping in (patak-patak) to call or "miss call" their kumpare in Saudi. Maybe just to update the barkada (mangungumusta), but also to ask about any job openings.

Globe Partner? Naaah ... - This is one service that Globe won't be able to immitate. That's because Globe doesn't have good service coverage in rural areas.

More Thoughts ...

Maya, my wife, goes to very inaccessible areas requiring half day treks or two hour motorcycle (habalhabal) rides. These areas in the mountains don't have running water, no electricity, no TV, nor any TV signal. But many of these areas have cellphone signals! Halleluiah!

All in all, public calling stations widen the world of rural folk. Smart Partner and mobile technology has introduced a whole slew of opportunities for the rural folk.

NOW is the time to develop content relevant for rural communities. (See Man, after our barriofolk try out the latest ringtones and icons, we better make sure there is content relevant to them that will be available on demand.

Makes me think, "Ano nga bang impormasyon ang kailangan ng isang magsasaka, mangingisda, manggagawa?"

What do you think?

- edwin
in between classes
Read: Smart Padala, Sweaty Padilla, The VAS Difference


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