Smart launches text service in Korean
Smart Communications is now offering Korean SMS, an innovative service that ensures that all text messages passing through the Smart network, composed in Korean characters, are accurately sent and received by Koreans in the Philippines and in Korea.
"Smart serves not just Filipinos, but also foreign nationals residing in the country and the people they communicate with abroad. In 2006 alone, over three billion international connections were logged on the Smart network, which includes those made by foreign nationals," according to Danilo Mojica, head of Smart's wireless consumer division.
The leading wireless services provider enjoys the largest share of the Philippine wireless market at about 58 percent with a network coverage that spans 99 percent of the country's population.
Mojica noted that the Korean SMS service manifests Smart's commitment to make mobile communications truly work for all of its customers, regardless of where they are and their nationality.
"Text messaging is a cost-effective communications vehicle, which people would use more if they can only communicate in their native tongue," he added.
Before the launch of Korean SMS, Korean nationals in the country contend with sending text messages in English characters, since most ordinary GSM handsets do not support Korean-character SMS input. Even if they use a handset capable of Korean character input, the content is sometimes not readable when received in Korea because the current text coding process for international SMS does not support Korean characters.
This limitation becomes more pronounced when the Korean recipient of an English SMS is not very proficient in the English language. Smart ensures that this limitation ceases to exist for the Koreans staying in the Philippines.
Officials explain that this service is also very easy to use. Koreans can go about their usual method of composing a Korean-character text and sending to a Korean-based number. Koreans now have the confidence that Smart can deliver their SMS message accurately, they added.
Koreans form the bulk of foreign tourists in the country, accounting for some 20.6 percent of foreign tourist arrivals at 213,094 from January to April this year, according to the Department of Tourism.
South Koreans in the Philippines also make up the largest community of overseas Koreans in Southeast Asia. As of February 2007, their count has been pegged at 92,608, doubling the number in 2005.