Mobile phone industry started to emerge in the Philippines during the 1990’s. Before the 90s, telecommunications was a business for only fixed line operators which majority is owned by PLDT. Majority of mobile communications then rely on unsecured frequency-band walkie talkies. A little later, mobile phones the size of a one-liter bottle were introduced utilizing GSM technology. Further forward, the size of these devices have shrunk into the newer models and beepers have been introduced.
With a combination of the functionalities of these two independent devices, the introduction of short messaging service in the GSM technology has popularized the use of mobile phones. Filipinos are innately social, and non-confrontational in nature, and thus, communication pays a vital part in day to day life. And, with an inexpensive access to SIM cards and SMS service, mobile phones have been a fad. According to a survey recently (2012) conducted by global research agency Synovate, one out of every 4 (Filipino) surveyed, said they can’t live without a mobile phone.
The number of mobile subscribers in the Philippines is expected to reach 117 million by end-2016 and will have a 114% penetration rate by end-2016, according to a report by Business Monitor International (BMI). In the Philippines, Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Cherry Mobile, and Blackberry (Research in Motion) tops the list of preferred brands; Although Nokia continues to decline in terms of market share, Nokia still tops when it comes to penetration in the Philippines. Among the other brands being distributed in the Philippines are: Acer Alcatel / TCT Mobile / TCL Communication
Apple Inc. AsusTeK Computer Inc. BenQ Corporation E-TEN Information Systems Co. , Ltd. Garmin-AsusTeK Computer Inc. Hewlett-Packard HTC Corporation (incl Dopod Communications Co Ltd) Huawei Technologies Co. , Ltd. Lenovo / LePhone LG Electronics Inc. Motorola, Inc. Ningbo Bird Co. ,Ltd. O2 – Telefonica Palm Inc. Smart Communications, Inc. Solid Group Inc. (Myphone) ZTE Corporation The snow balling functionality of the mobile phone, from mere SMS, to MMS, to audio-video, and data capabilities is leading the Philippines to become the fastest growing smartphone market in SEA to date.
The Philippines posted an exponential three-fold growth of 326% in smartphone volume sales, making it the fastest growing market for smartphones in Southeast Asia, a report from Singapore-based research firm GfK Asia showed (given that other technologically advanced neighbours such as Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia have earlier advanced into smartphones). Table below shows the sales of traditional (feature) mobile phones versus Smartphones