Today the mobile payment solutions are so embedded in Smart’s business model that SMART Money, SMART Load and the more recent SMART Padala (for remittances via mobile phones) are considered “traditional” products. These products and services are used by more than 80% of Smart’s 16.5 million subscribers. Revenue has increased from around US$500 million to US$1 billion―and 99% of this business continues to be prepaid.
Wirecard’s industry expertise helped Smart become the local market leader. Before the introduction of SMART Load, Smart and its closest competitor, Globe, were neck and neck in the Philippine telecommunications market. Now that Smart customers are able to buy airtime in denominations of as little as five minutes at a time, Smart has moved into pole position.
Smart won twice in the GSM Association’s prestigious awards: in 2001 the Award for Most Innovative GSM Wireless Service for Customers for its SMART Money and in 2004 the Award for Best Mobile Application or Service – Consumer Market for its SMART Load product, and the judges’ comments are telling: “This prepaid microbusiness is very, very impressive. Not only is Smart Communications increasing its customer base and reducing churn, it is creating employment, creating new businesses and multiplying its retail channels.”