Let’s have a short a background story, shall we?
Lopez Holdings, a Filipino business conglomerate owned by the Lopez family have diverse business from power (Energy Development Corporation), broadcasting (ABS-CBN), telecommunications (Bayan Telecommunications) and property (Rockwell Land). One of their businesses, BayanTel has been struggling for a long time due to debt but Globe Telecom offered to buy the company by assuming all its debts this year. Bayan’s sister company ABS-CBN, the biggest TV network in the country has desires of having a mobile service but the problem is the government’s slow-phased action on giving licenses to operate a telco. So, ABS-CBN and Globe made a network sharing agreement in which ABS-CBN can offer a mobile service using Globe network and in return, Globe can use BayanTel’s 3G frequencies to further improve their network. This is where ABS-CBN Mobile is born.
Launched last November 16 at ABS-CBN’s benefit concert for Typhoon Yolanda victims, ABS-CBN Mobile distributed 100,000 new SIM cards to the victims which is included on the relief packs being distributed by ABS-CBN Sagip Kapamilya. In addition to that, ABS-CBN Mobile has distributed over 100,000 more SIM card on cellphone tiangges and retailers across the country which can be bought for P30.
I asked a good friend for an errand to buy an ABS-CBN Mobile SIM to test its services. We were able to buy in a cellphone stall in Divisoria for P50. The sim’s prefix number is 0937.
The package is similar’s to Globe’s SIM pack only with ABS-CBN Mobile logo on it. It is preloaded with free 5MB of mobile internet and 15 free texts to all networks.
I inserted the SIM (which is also cut into a micro-SIM) into my Sony Xperia SP which is an Android phone. The network that appeared is “ABS-CBN”. You have to set up manually the mobile internet settings. If you are using an Android phone, go to settings then Wireless and Networks then Access Point Names. Go to new APN and type internet.abs-cbn.com.ph. For those using an iPhone go to settings, then general, then cellular then cellular data network then type internet.abs-cbn.com.ph
So far customer service is great. Inquiries and complains are addressed quickly. Customer service can be reached when you dial 7878 free of charge if you are an ABS-CBN Mobile subscriber or text HELP<space><text message> and send it to 2137.
Call, text and internet offers are still very limited. Here are the lists of services:
Kapamilya Online 50 – 120 MB worth of internet consumable for 3 days – text KOL50 to 2135
Kapamilya Text All 15 – 75 texts to all networks for 2 days – text KTAN15 to 2135
Kapamilya Call All Net 20 – P5/min call to all networks for 2 days – KCAN20 to 2135
Kapamilya Unli Chat 15 – Unli Viber Chat and Calls for 1 day – KUC15 to 2135
There are other denominations but they are not included on the website. I was able to watch ABS-CBN News Channel’s Future Perfect where other denominations of these services are mentioned. If you worry about the coverage, don’t be. ABS-CBN Mobile has nationwide coverage because its using Globe’s network. Loading your prepaid account is not a problem because you can load via Globe’s Autoload Max retailers.
Calls to Smart and Globe are good. No dropped calls and no choppy conversations. I did my calls on various places in Metro Manila – our home in Pasig, SM MegaMall in Mandaluyong, Glorietta and Ayala Ave in Makati and 32nd Street in Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. So far calls made are clear in these places. Same thing with SMS. I send a text using my ABS-CBN Mobile to Smart at the same time with my Globe SIM to the same Smart number. The text from ABS-CBN Mobile came first.
Internet connection is generally fast on the places where I make and take calls. Since ABS-CBN Mobile is using Globe’s network, expect good HSPA+ connectivity where Globe has good internet connection. Unfortunately, ABS-CBN Mobile doesn’t have LTE service yet. But according to the customer service rep I talked to, LTE will be coming soon. Only prepaid service is being offered as well. Postpaid services will be offered next year.
IWantv, a video-on-demand and online livestreaming service of ABS-CBN, also launched an app for iOS and Android users (Windows Phone coming soon) which now available for download. The app will only work if you are an ABS-CBN Mobile subscriber. Just register your mobile phone number and enjoy ABS-CBN content as long as you are subscribed to ABS-CBN Mobile’s internet promos or connected to WiFi.
If you use your phone more for ABS-CBN content, mobile surfing and social networking, then you will probably enjoy ABS-CBN Mobile’s services. Calling and texting is no struggle because it can connect to Smart and Globe numbers easily. If you worry about text and call charges to other networks, just subscribe to ABS-CBN Mobile’s call and text promos. The only problem I see is the availability of SIM cards. So far, I haven’t seen any gadget shops selling SIM cards in big malls like Glorietta, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, SM North Edsa and Festival Mall. I think ABS-CBN Mobile should roll out more retailers selling SIMs in order for them to gain subscribers. Unli services should be added as well.