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?


How (and how not) to activate a prepaid Smart Bro micro sim on the ipad

When I got my 3G iPad last year, there were no prepaid micro sims available yet at Globe or Smart so I went to one of the stalls in Theater Mall, Greenhills where they charged me P100 to cut up a standard Smart Buddy sim to micro sim size.

I discovered that Smart had this smart feature called Web Connect.

You register the sim online, fill up some info about yourself, assign a password, a TPIN (optional) and you were good to go. Web Connect allowed you to inquire about your sim balance, avail of promo packages, and get technical help when needed.

For several months, I was happy. I’d use the Pasaload feature to load up my iPad whenever i needed to go 3G. But when carriers began offering prepaid plans with unlimited surfing for a day, a week and a month, I realized that being charged P20/hour was getting costly, especially since I needed to be online whenever I was out of the house.

Mistake # 1 – Wrong Sim

When the Smart system detects that your sim is a Smart Buddy, you only see call/text promo packages on your Web Connect account! So all that time, I thought an ipad could never avail of unlimited surfing packages and had to be content with hourly rates. Yun pala, I had the wrong sim! It had to be Smart Bro!

So last week, off I went to Smart Wireless Center and purchased another sim, costing only P40. This time, I made sure it was a Smart Bro prepaid micro sim.

Mistake # 2 – Registering on Web Connect via Web

As I’m always wifi-connected at home, it was just natural for me to register on Web Connect while on my home network. Apparently, Smart’s system requires that you register by being on 3G AND using the iPad’s micro sim. Otherwise, your Smart Bro packages and other promos don’t show up on your account’s screen.

I learned this the hard way and had to communicate with @SmartCares (Smart’s Twitter account). They had to refresh my micro sim so I could register again.

I think I successfully activated my micro sim because last I checked, I could already see the Smart Bro packages for unlimited surfing options.

Just one last hirit (my suggestion) for Smart people.

The iPad has no texting function unlike a smartphone where you text a given format to subscribe to unlimited surfing. The way the Smart system is now, it appears that you need to first connect to Smart using your 3G connection (which means you get charged P10 just to connect). Then you choose an unlimited surfing option, say the P50 unlimited surfing for one day. So in effect, I get charged P60 instead of what should just have been P50 had I subscribed on a smartphone.

Can Smart please find a workaround so I can register for surfing options via wifi on Web Connect instead of spending P10 just to connect via 3G? Anyway, the account requires a password so no one else can enter the account and register for a surfing option and other packages.


Smart Bro’s Broadbandest Blowout is here!

Shortly after the recent Japan quake struck, our internet connection began to suffer. When I say suffer, I mean really painful, tortuous suffering. You see, we have a 3Mbps plan with this broadband company and even if I had my entire brood online, we never had serious problems with speed. As an active blogger, I could still happily surf the net for my writing tasks while keeping up with my social network contacts. My kids could still do research for their academic requirements while watching YouTube videos.

But up to this time, we are lucky to get even a 1Mbps speed constantly during the day. At night, when everyone is online, our internet speed would drop to dial-up speeds (as slow as 0.12 Mbps). I’ve not had speeds like that since maybe the early 2000’s! And to top it all, there was one day this week when our internet connection totally conked out! What was I to do?

Guess what saved the day, at least for me — my SmartBro dongle!!!

I topped up my prepaid SmartBro number with enough load and subscribed to UNLISURF50. That gave me unlimited internet connection for one whole day!

This really got me thinking that subscribing to just one broadband carrier may no longer be sufficient. There is a need for a backup carrier. The kids and I cannot afford to have the internet down because my work is primarily online and they have a lot of schoolwork online too. And truthfully, I think we will all have withdrawal symptoms if we go without the internet even for just one day. Hahaha…

Now is the time to seriously look at what could be Smart Bro’s grandest, biggest bang-for-the-bucks broadband blowout. 

Smart Bro’s Unlimited Home Broadband Plan is available for either Php 999 or Php 1995. And that’s not all. You get the following ABSOLUTELY FREE just for subscribing to either of these two plans:

1. FREE All-in-One HP Printer 
2. FREE Call & Texts with SMART Gold Lite Plan 300 for 6 months subscription
3. FREE 1-month broadband subscription

You get consistent and stable surfing speed, unlimited internet connection and all these freebies to boot!

This summer, I’m seriously going to look at these unlimited broadband plans. My kids and I have come to depend so much on internet connection that we really cannot afford to do without it on a daily basis. The kind of unexpected disaster wrought by the Japan quake tells me that it is always good to have alternatives. Smart Bro gave me the internet connection I needed when my other broadband carrier failed to deliver. I think it will continue to come to our rescue down the road.

That is a big thumbs-up for me!

If you are like me, an avid internet user, and most of all, if you’ve got internet-savvy kids who will climb the wall if the internet is disrupted even for a few hours, you need to look at Smart Bro’s summer promo and avail of the cool freebies. I bet you need that HP printer like I do to replace my 3-year old HP inkjet printer.

Check out Smart Bro’s Broadbandest Blowout. This promo runs from March 4 to June 4, 2011. You can find additional details on this promo at the Smart website. Just click HERE.

Per DTI-NCR Permit No. 1871, Series of 2011.

(Note this serves as my entry to Smart Bro’s Broadbandest Blowout blogger contest.)