MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – This week, Smart launched a new set of postpaid plans called "Smart Signature." It has data and call allocation at a fixed monthly rate, as one would expect.
But if there's one thing that catches attention about the plans, it's that Smart is offering a "prioritized network experience" for prospective subscribers.
"Designed for goal slayers who need a postpaid plan that can keep up with their fast-paced lifestyle, Smart Signature shatters the limitations of the traditional plans to deliver a prioritized, worry-free, and in-control mobile experience," says their press release.
"With Smart Signature, subscribers are prioritized on the Smart LTE network," it adds in the next paragraph.
Another: "This prioritized network experience makes sure that subscribers enjoy consistent data to connect to their favorite apps, send messages in real time, and make uninterrupted calls – even during peak hours."
And on their site: "Enjoy the highest data priority on Smart's fastest 4G LTE network that prioritizes you."
Clearly, what Smart's trying to hammer home here is that you're in front of the line when you need that LTE data connection.
It's easy enough to understand what being prioritized is, but in Smart's context, does this mean that Signature subscribers during a high-traffic scenario retain a more consistent connection than non-Signature subscribers and prepaid subscribers?
If it does as advertised, what they're marketing here is a premium experience – more than the data allocation, we'll guarantee a sure connection, Smart appears to say. That's what it sounds like. Asking them for clarification, Smart said the Signature subscribers indded "get highest priority on Smart LTE whenever there's congestion or if there's high data traffic demand." Sounds great, but hopefully the non-prioritized subscribers don't suffer too much.
Telcos are already under a lot of fire for their data connections. (Sometimes, just a little bit unfairly, but what can they expect when they focus so heavily on the Mbps you're supposed to get without realistically setting expectations for downtime and such. Mix that with an internet-addicted populace, and you've got the makings of an angry mob.)
Making "prioritized internet experience" a key part of the new plan's messaging just sounds a little like giving people another thing to pounce on. Smart harps on their achievements with several internet speed test monitors, but often, news about those are met with disbelief on social media. "Really?!" they seem to say. Of course, it could also be that those satisfied with the service just have no reason to join the fray and risk the mob turning to them.
I, for one, am fine with my customizable All-In plan – although hated it when they changed the ability to freely purchase multiple P50 1GB data bundles that expire after 3 days with the closest replacement being a P50 1.5GB bundle that expires in a day. We'll see if I'll still be fine with it when the "prioritized" subscribers come in.
In any case, here's the allocation for the new plans:
At a glance, that data allocation seems a little more generous than the competition. Just an example: the P1000 plan for Smart Signature gets you 10GB, while the most similar P1000 Globe plan gets you 8GB. They have their own perks beyond the data – Smart with an appealing 100 minutes of calls to all networks, while Globe comes with subscriptions to iFlix and Spotify. You can check out Globe's plans here if you want to compare further.