Smart’s Freedom Plan: Postpaid Plan Redefined

Who wants complete freedom with a postpaid plan that starts from ZERO, has no monthly fees, has no lock-in period and does not require the presentation of documents before you can be given a subscriber line?

That’s what Smart is offering to prepaid subscribers now with its Freedom Plan.

My Smart Freedom Plan sim

For the next few months, I will be testing out this plan.

The facts: I’m a prepaid subscriber on both Globe and Smart (and I used to be one with Sun too). Many friends ask me why I have stayed prepaid all these years although I was a postpaid subscriber when I was still fully employed. I tell them that with prepaid, I can monitor my mobile spending based on how much I load (very important for one with no full-time job and is on a tight budget). I have the freedom to choose what telco and even what plan I will enroll in from day to day (I use my home wifi most times and only need internet when I am mobile). I am free of bill shock risk. When they tell me that postpaid subscribers get a free phone, I just shrug and tell them that the phone I want usually comes with a monthly plan (which is too inflexible for what I need) so I’d rather just buy the phone I really want and use a prepaid sim.

I really enjoy my prepaid freedom and won’t just give it up and be tied to a network or postpaid plan unless I enjoy the same or better flexibility I now enjoy as a prepaid mobile user.

So when Smart invited me to try out their Freedom Plan, I agreed to give it a test run. Here’s what the Freedom Plan is all about.

Key Features

* No fixed monthly fees (you start from ZERO)
* No lock-in period (you just get the SIM. No phones are bundled with the plan.)
* No documents to submit if you stay within the default credit limit
* No bill shock – Each SIM is ready with a P600 credit limit. You can mix/match the plan’s  “postpaid buckets” for the month until you reach P600.

Available Postpaid Buckets

You can use a combination of any of available postpaid buckets (up to the credit limit of P600) in any month, depending on your planned usage. Just use the corresponding keyword and send to 9990.

For example, you decide to choose this combination:

Trio Talk 150 + All Text 200 = 150 minutes of Tri-net (Smart, Sun, Talk ‘N Text) calls + 2,000 texts to all networks + 150MB internet surfing

That will only cost you P350. Since you’re well within the P600 monthly limit, you can still avail of another postpaid bucket worth P250 within the month.

What if you are close to or hit P600 limit before month is over? 

You can do either of the following;

1. Pay what you have already used up so you can free up the credit limit and allow you to subscribe to more buckets. Payment is available in many ways: through Smart Store, online banking, Smart Money, etc.
2. You can always apply for a higher monthly limit. Smart will just require some additional documentation from you.

Rates when not on Postpaid Buckets

When you are not subscribed to any of the Freedom Plan postpaid buckets, the following rates will apply:

Voice calls per minute (to Smart, Talk ‘N Text – P6.50
Voice calls per minute (to other networks) – P7.50
SMS/MMS to all networks – P1.00/SMS
IDD per minute (to any country) – US$ 0.40
International texts (to any country) – P10.00/SMS
Mobile surfing – P10 for every 30 minutes

Current Promo for New Freedom Plan Subscribers

For new Freedom Plan Subscribers up to January 15, 2013, you can enjoy a 10% rebate on the first 6 months of your subscription under the following conditions:

1. You have a paid bill of at least P300
2. You paid your previous month’s bill completely

Rebate is applied on your next bill.

How to Apply

1. Just visit any Smart Store.
2. Present just one valid school or company ID.
3. Pay a P250 application fee.
4. You get your Smart Freedom SIM on the spot. Within 24 hours, you can begin availing of the Freedom Plan.

While the initial target market of the Freedom Plan is yuppies in their 20s to early 30s, on a tight budget because they are just establishing their careers, I already see that there are other markets that will want this kind of plan. Senior citizens who may be living on pension are also on a tight budget and want to stretch their load and cap it at a predictable amount.

I am eager to test this plan for several months and see how this would fit the budget needs of my own kids, some of whom are fresh out of college and fall within this target market.

How does the Freedom Plan sound to you? 


Smart launches its All-Net postpaid plans with an amazing race

I’ve been on prepaid status with two of the mobile carriers since I left the corporate world. It has served me well because I could not fit my new mobile usage and lifestyle into any of the postpaid plans being offered then. Some were inflexible and offered call and text quantities that I knew I would not use. I did not want to be pegged to a fixed monthly fee which I could not maximize.

The invitation to join Smart’s All-Net Amazing Race (while being introduced to its new All-Net offerings under its All-In plans made me curious and interested to join. I wondered if, this time, I would have a clear alternative to just remaining a prepaid subscriber forever. Of course, the other motivator in this whole amazing race thing (as this was my first ever amazing race) was the fact that my teammate was my own dear friend, Noemi. Also in our team dubbed the “Yellow team” were Ryan (another blogger friend) and Marlon (who I just met that day).

The tasks given to us were physically challenging. We had to bungee jump to get some phone numbers hanging from a tree (that task was assigned to Marlon, the tallest in our team). Then we had to call 3 numbers from those papers and show the call logs to the game marshal to get the next task.

(Marlon did such a great job on this one. I would have been an epic fail.)
Noemi, by stroke of luck, had just finished reviewing the Samsung Galaxy Y, the
very unit given to our team, so she was our designated texter.

Ryan makes the calls.

Task 2 was to run to Timezone and rack up a certain number of points on a dance machine, after which we had to text (and receive responses from) 5 random friends to get Task 3.

Texting frenzy…

Task 3 required us to look for a living statue at City Walk Two. By chance, I was in that very mall area just before the event buying a sports top so I knew exactly where to run to. We had to call someone from the living statue post to read out one of the Smart All-Net Postpaid Plans features.

The living statue and our task

Task 4 made us go on a shopping spree with a limited budget of P1,200. Luckily we saw Graffiti Tee which had tees on sale for P250 each. We grabbed our sizes, got the next task and ran out. Task 5 had us calling a Hong Kong number to get a password. Task 6 made us run back to Eastwood Mall, look for the Smart dog (which was the same dog I saw hanging around the Smart tent earlier) and guess its breed. We all thought it was a German Shepherd (wrong!!!). Its master was instructed not to tell us its breed but fast-thinking Ryan asked people around – and it turned out to be a bullmastiff. We had to go online using our team phone to show the marshal the flag of the dog’s origin to get Task 7 (to assemble a puzzle) back at the Smart tent.

The clincher (Task 8) was to use another carrier’s billing statement and compute the savings if the same call minutes and number of texts were used on an All-Net postpaid plan. Thanks to an accounting training which included doing math without a calculator, my brain went full blast. Yes, our team was the first to finish all the tasks. We won first place! And for that, each one of us got — an HTC Wildfire S!

After the rush of the amazing race, Noemi and I lingered (because we also had to wind down and catch our breath from all the running) to talk with the Smart people. The tasks that they made us do actually was an introduction to just how much one can save with an All-Net postpaid plan:

* All-In plans beat out other plans because conventional plans tie you to a monthly FIXED fee for a certain combination of call minutes, text messages and internet use, whether you actually use them up or not. Value-added services outside your plan are billed to you ON TOP OF your monthly fee. All-in plans are just that, all in. What you subscribe to is what you pay, nothing more.

* You can tailor-fit your All-In plan from month to month. There are different mix-and-match services like Unlitalk, Unlitext, Unlisurf and IDD calls. Read more on All-In Plans HERE.

* All-Net plans are the latest services under the All-In plans.

* With Smart Postpaid All-Net Talk, subscribers can cut their postpaid call charges in half because this feature gives you 80 minutes of calls to ALL NETWORKS for only P250 for 30 days. That comes out to only P3.12 per minute compared to P7.50 per minute with other providers.

* With Smart Postpaid All-Net Text, you get 2,500 text messages to ALL NETWORKS for only P350 for 30 days. That is only P0.14 per SMS instead of the standard P1.00 per SMS charged by other networks.

* Data services under the Smart Postpaid All-In Plans also give the widest range of data volume on demand, from 25MB to 2GB.

* With the IDD bundle saver, you can make international calls at local rates, plus 5 minutes free for only P200.

Right now, I am already a frequent user of Smart’s Always On data plans for my ipad because I need to be connected all the time when out of the house. Now, with Smart’s All-Net Postpaid Plans, I will study carefully my usage for calls, texts and internet to see if it will save me more money compared to my current mobile costs.

I discovered that my Wildfire S could be turned into a personal hotspot. An All-In Postpaid Plan would mean cheaper calls and texts and if I activate the hotspot, I could share my internet connection from my phone to my ipad. That’s a lot of potential savings!

What about you? Do you think the All-Net Plans are worth your second look?