The final launch date for ABS-CBN’s telco service, which is expected to create a third industry player after rivals PLDT and Globe, has been a closely guarded secret since the plan was announced months ago.
It therefore came as a surprise to many of us when the service apparently went live Saturday night, following an announcement made during ABS-CBN’s “Tulong-Na” benefit concert for victims of Typhoon Yolanda, one of the worst recorded storms in history.
We missed that concert and, thus, the announcement.
ABS-CBN issued the launch to the media—well, sort of—by saying on Tuesday it would be giving away 100,000 SIM cards to the typhoon’s survivors. It was likewise putting up free text and calling centers in affected areas.
The cards also come with free prepaid credits worth P50 plus 15 texts and 5 megabytes of Internet use.
For the rest of us, SIM cards can already be found in sari-sari stores and bazaars or tiangges.
As previously reported, ABS-CBN’s telco service would be supported by the network infrastructure of Globe Telecom of the Ayala Group. Part of the TV network’s draw would be existing and new entertainment content to be made available to ABS-CBN mobile subscribers.
It seems ABS-CBN’s bosses decided to turn the soft launch into a charity event for the thousands who continue to suffer the aftermath of Yolanda’s wrath.
Any form of charity in these trying times is always a commendable act.
But with billions of pesos being poured into the venture, where potential returns remain unquantifiable at present, we can be sure investors want to keep a close watch on this one now that it has been launched.—Miguel R. Camus