Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Cellphone crazy Philippines

Here's a strange fact about the Philippines, for a country with about two thirds of its 80 million people living in varying degrees of poverty, there are around 10 million cellphones -- that's almost 1 out of every 8 people here.

Even informal settlers (aka squatters, shanty people) have cellphones. And this says something, people in the Philippines can survive with one meal a day but can't survive a day without texting their cellphone buddies.

It is a thriving business here.

You've got your Nokia, Motorola, Siemens, and a host of other brands. Almost any brand at all can be bought, not at a fancy cell phone shop or cellphone service provider, but at simple ordinary KIOSKS in year round bazaars -- like the one in Greenhills, San Juan, Manila. And they are invariably a few hundred pesos cheaper than if you were to buy your phone from a cellphone service provider, but you have to watch out though and make sure they give exactly what you are paying for.

Personally, I am a Nokia fan. I bought my Nokia 6600 last year and I am planning on trading up (yes, in the Philippines, cell phones can be traded up for newer models). I am having a hard time picking between the Nokia 7710, Nokia 6630, and the Nokia 9300. All are pretty good models and as with all Nokia phones, they are all pretty easy to use.

Oh, here's a few more tid bits about text messaging here in the Philippines:

The letter 'K', abbreviation for OK or affirmative, gets sent approximately 12,000,000 times a day. At Php1.00 per message, that is Php 12,000,000 earned by just one cellphone service provider in a day... Divide that number by 56 or 55, and you get the equivalent in US dollars (that should be around $218,000 a day).

How's that for a key word??? Huh! Think about it.

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