Store owners and small business proprietors in Palawan have reported a boost in their livelihood, thanks to additional income streams brought about by sales of Smart Communications prepaid products, specifically, load credits.
For Glecy de Lima, owner of a sari-sari (small grocery) store at a fishing community in Roxas, being a Smart retailer has given her another source of income. “I get an additional amount of at least P500 a week from selling Smart load, which I use as additional investment for my business,” said De Lima.
Load retailers are part of Smart’s Ka-Partner loyalty and rewards program, which gives incentives to help them grow their businesses and enhance their livelihood while enabling communities to stay connected.
Ka-Partners or load retailers are usually found at our neighborhood sari-sari or grocery stores. Sometimes, they can also be our friend or relative from whom we can buy the load, wherever they may be.
De Lima, who has been a Smart load retailer for three years now, said most of her load buyers are students and fishermen. “They are Smart users because the signal here is strong,” De Lima said.
Ryan Abadilla, customer development manager, sees more opportunities for Smart Ka-Partner retailers in Palawan, considered one of the most beautiful island destinations in the world.
“With improved connectivity, tourists can upload photos, update their social media, and keep in touch with their families via messaging apps faster,” Abadilla said.
With more tourists coming in, “local businesses will also flourish,” he added.
In Puerto Princesa, Honda Bay area store owner Evelyn Juntado has seen more than 100 percent increase in her Smart load sales. From P2,000 last year, she is now able to sell about P5,000 worth of load in a week.
Load sales account for a significant share of Smart’s revenues―a fact that does not go unrecognized. To pay tribute to load sellers for their significant contribution to the company’s growth, Smart holds an annual national convention for its Ka-Partner retailers.
Thousands of load retailers from all over the Philippines attended the Smart Ka-Partner retailers conventions, which feature entertainment, games, and raffle prizes. Up for grabs are grocery items, mobile gadgets, a brand-new motorcycle or car, and cash prizes of up to P1 million.
This year, Smart will hold five retailer conventions in various locations across the country, with the theme “Bilis Asenso sa LTE,” as more and more load retailers are seeing increases in their earnings because of Smart LTE.
Smart’s fast LTE connection is felt by De Lima’s customers, who usually avail of regular Smart load or call, text and data packages such as All Out Surf 30 and Giga Surf 50.
“They use it to surf the internet, browse Facebook, and call relatives abroad,” she said.
The data bundles allow mobile users and tourists to share with their family and loved one's photos and videos of their beach and island getaways, plus give them free access to YouTube for one hour daily.
High-speed internet also allows store owners like Juntado to earn more. She is active on Facebook because she also has an online selling business, which has gotten more inquiries and transactions with the fast LTE network of Smart.
Smart is rolling out more LTE sites across Palawan, the country’s largest province in terms of land area. Initial internal tests in areas like the Puerto Princesa International Airport and Honda Bay wharf have shown LTE download speeds between 12 and 60 Mbps, depending on the device.
A mobile user buys load credits at Evelyn Juntado’s store. She says load sales have been brisk because of Smart’s improved network service.