Smart restores LTE connectivity in Tacloban, offers free Twitter updates via text


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Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) announced today that high-speed Internet access using Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology at the downtown area of Tacloban City in Leyte was restored while cellular coverage was brought back to the city airport to provide vital communication links to aid emergency response efforts.

Smart restores coverage in Tacloban

As of 11 AM today, Smart and Digitel Mobile Philippines, Inc. (DMPI) have reactivated a total of 83% of its affected sites in the Visayas region. Meanwhile, network services have been restored 100% in Palawan. In particular, coverage has been restored last night in Coron and Culion, Palawan. Cellular service was also fired up in Daan Bantayan in Northern Cebu.

In other areas, Smart has deployed Smart Satellite Services phones to provide Libreng Tawag services for residents. Aside from Borongan, Eastern Samar, Smart started providing free calls to residents in Guiuan, Eastern Samar and Dulag, Leyte. In partnership with Thuraya, Smart Satellite Services is also providing assistance to various government and humanitarian agencies.

Meanwhile, Smart Libreng Tawag services are ongoing in the following areas:

1. Leyte Smart cellsite in municipality of Dulag
Municipal Hall of Palo
Smart Retail Store in Ormoc City
City Hall, Ormoc City
DSWD booth at City Hall of Tacloban City
PLDT office, Tacloban City

2.Northern Cebu Express Call Office, Bogo City Proper
Smart cellsite in Poblacion, Sta. Fe
Maridejos Municipal Hall

3.Capiz Outside City Hall of Roxas City

4.Eastern Samar Guiuan airport
Smart cellsite in Borongan

5.Palawan Town proper in Coron

The public may also proceed to the following locations to charge their mobile phone batteries:

1.Smart Store in Ormoc City, Leyte
2.Smart cellsite in Sta. Fe, Cebu
3.Smart cellsite in Madridejos, Cebu
4.Municipal hall in Madridejos, Cebu
5.Express Call Office, Bogo City Proper

As the companies work in providing direct assistance to companies affected by Typhoon Yolanda, a free all-network and international SMS bundle offer has also been provided to Smart, Sun and Talk ‘N Text subscribers.

Starting today, the free SMS bundle, comprised of 25 all-net text and three international text messages are being automatically pushed to subscribers daily for five days until November 17. The service does not require any registration. The offer is initially available in hard hit areas Aklan, Antique, Capiz, Leyte, Northern Cebu, Palawan and Samar, where an estimated five million subscriber base stands to benefit.


Smart offers Free Twitter Updates via SMS

Smart also announced that it has partnered with popular social networking and micro blogging service provider Twitter in offering free Twitter updates via text to communities in hard-hit areas.

“Access to relevant information is as important as being able to inform family and loved ones that you are among the survivors of super Typhoon Yolanda,” said Charles Lim, Executive Vice President and Division Head of Smart Wireless Consumer Business.

“Free Twitter SMS will enable our subscribers in severely damaged parts in the Visayas to keep abreast with relevant announcements and online posts from relief and disaster response agencies like the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), among others,” Lim added.

Subscribers simply need to register to be able to make use of the service. The registration process is as follows:

For existing TWITTER users:
  • Text “start”  4409.
  • Text “YES” to 4409
  • Text “ (ex. @juandelacruz) to 4409
  • Text “” to 4409
  • Text “FOLLOW <@username>” to 4409 – to follow an account on Twitter (ex. “FOLLOW @smartcares”)
  • Text “ON <@username >” to 4409 – to follow an account via Twitter SMS (ex. “ON @smartcares”)
If not an existing TWITTER user:
  • Text “start”  4409.
  • Text “Full Name” to 4409
  • Text “FOLLOW <@username>” to 4409 – to follow an account on Twitter (ex. “FOLLOW @smartcares”)
  • Text “ON <@username>” to 4409 – to follow an account via Twitter SMS (ex. “ON @smartcares”)
 
 
Smart recommends the following Twitter accounts: @smartcares, @talkntext @suncelltweets @dost_pagasa, @dswdserves @philredcross and @interaksyon.
The initial offer provides up to 20 tweets that can be received for free per day for the next 14 days starting November 14. Users will not be charged for every Twitter SMS they send to these accounts.


Smart acts as channel for international donations via mobile delivery
As part of a global philanthropy call of the United Nations, Smart with its mobile financial services subsidiary Smart e-Money, has partnered with four leading global mobile airtime remittance hubs that interconnect mobile operators’ prepaid systems to deliver international donations via mobile. These are Transfer To, Tranglo, www.exetop.com, and Aryty, which together cover more than 250 partner mobile network operators in 90 countries.
 
To contribute to a disaster relief communities devastated by Typhoon Yolanda, mobile subscribers can just key-in +63-999-7-000-000 (12-digits) as the beneficiary mobile number following their mobile service providers’ airtime top-up mechanics.
 
This fund-raising program will last until December 31, 2013 to allow mobile subscribers in over 40 countries to donate mobile airtime at a maximum of US$10 a day. Countries such as Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain (United Kingdom), Greece, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Macau, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Qatar, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the Vatican City, among others.
 
All airtime donations generated will be credited to the Philippines relief drive using SMART BayadLoad (pay via load) and subsequently credited to the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation (PDRF) current account with the state-owned Land Bank of the Philippines. The PDRF is one of the three identified institutional conduits approved by the BSP together with the Department of Social Welfare and Development and the Philippine National Red Cross.
 
Depending upon the procedures of the MNO in the country where the donations are originating from, charges will be deducted from the subscriber’s prepaid balance. To learn more about this, please visit http://brickbybrick.pdrf.org/yolanda/
 

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