Filipinos Averaged 1 Billion Text Messages Daily Last Year

    March 5, 2008

Filipinos increased the number of text messages they sent last year two fold, averaging 1 billion daily, industry figures showed.

For the 8 million Filipinos who work abroad, texting is the primary way they keep in touch with family at home. Text messages are also a political tool and played an important roll in overthrowing President Joseph Estrada in 2001 by making people aware of rallies.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), the country’s largest telecoms group, said text messages on its network reached a daily average of 700-750 million last year. Competitor Globe Telecom told Reuters about 300-400 million messages were sent daily on its network last year.

PLDT and Globe have more than 50 million subscribers and the country’s mobile penetration rate is about 60 percent, compared to 35 percent in Indonesia, 75 percent in Thailand and 84 percent in Malaysia.

Industry executives believe that up to 80 percent penetration is possible over the next two years as an improved economy allows more people to buy mobiles.

In 2006, 500 million text messages were sent daily and 250 million in 2005, the National Telecommunications Commission said.

The wide spread use of text messaging is due in part to its affordability. Credit can be purchased for one peso (2.5 U.S. cents) and mobile users can transfer credits to another phone.