Rocket Internet to focus on ecommerce in Philippines with new PLDT joint venture

PhilippinesEcommerce giant Rocket Internet and Philippine telco PLDT are on a roll. The partners are setting up another joint venture, this time for online business development in the Philippines. This comes just two weeks after the duo signed an agreement to form a 50-50 venture for online and mobile payment solutions, with a focus on emerging markets. In a joint statement today, Rocket and PLDT said they will set up the Philippines Internet Group (PHIG).

SMI, Citi, and Visa revolutionize digital payments

SMART e-Money, Inc. (SMI), the mobile financial solutions arm of Smart Communications, Inc., in partnership with Citi Philippines and Visa recently unveiled Charge2Phone or C2P, the country’s first sticker-based Near Field Communication (NFC) payment solution that is expected to revolutionize the way Filipino consumers pay for face-to-face and online transactions. This innovative payment technology enables Smart and Sun postpaid subscribers to use their phones not only for SMS, calls and browsing services, but also to pay for small-ticket items.

PLDT HOME still the most dominant broadband, three times bigger than competition

MANILA, Philippines – Leading telecommunications and multimedia services provider PLDT, through its home digital services group PLDT HOME, has maintained its leadership in fixed broadband with a 70% market share at the end of the third quarter of 2014, more than triple that of its nearest competitor. PLDT HOME has remained the preferred broadband provider in the country with consistent double-digit increases in broadband subscribers as it grew a robust 18% at the end of September from its year-ago level, bringing its total broadband subscriber base to nearly one million.

The Philippines publishes oil and gas contracts

The Philippines has published government contracts in the mining, oil and gas industries on its open data portal, These industries account for US$1.2 billion (PHP 52 billion) of government revenue, the Open Data Taskforce said. The government is committed to meeting international standards of transparency in revenue from extractive industries, it added.

Philippines’ Smart extends free internet promo as smartphone adoption grows

Philippine mobile operator Smart Communications welcomes the year 2015 with a surprise for its subscribers: an extended free internet promo. Smart announced in a statement today all 69 million subscribers of Smart and affiliate brands – Talk ’N Text and Sun Cellular – can use their mobile phones to surf the web for up to 30 megabytes daily without charges till February 5, instead of January 5. To take advantage of the promo, subscribers just need to register by texting FREE to 9999.

More people are remitting money to the Philippines using Bitcoin. Here’s why

Christmas has come early for Philippine Bitcoin remittance service Rebit, one of the verticals under Bitcoin umbrella company Satoshi Citadel Industries (SCI), has booked an average 150 percent growth in value of transactions month-on-month since October. That’s a big jump from the usual 80 percent growth it registered during the first few months from its launch in July. The reason for the spike is obvious: remittances from overseas Filipinos usually peak in the run-up to Christmas because of holiday spending, and Rebit has been able to capture a portion of that market.

Philippine gov’t warns telcos of penalties for throttling ‘unlimited’ data users

When you sell “unlimited” data plans and put speed limits on them, there’s something seriously wrong. The Philippines’ Justice department told mobile operators this in an advisory today, warning them of penalties for throttling supposedly unlimited data plans when subscribers use the internet too much. The practice of throttling or reducing internet speeds makes it difficult to perform tasks like navigating using GPS or watching a video.

Smart users in the Philippines may now charge Google Play buys direct to bill

Filipinos subscribed to Smart Telecommunications no longer have to go digging for their credit cards when buying that hit game or app for their Android phones. Smart, the leading mobile operator in the Philippines, announced today its customers may now make app and in-app purchases in Google Play by charging directly to their bills or deducting from available prepaid credit. The company commissioned an NTT Docomo subsidiary, net mobile AG, to implement the direct carrier billing.

Philippines’ Globe Telecom Partners with iDirect to Provide Best-in-Class Satellite Communications to Corporate Clients

HERNDON, Va. — VT iDirect, Inc. (iDirect), a company of Vision Technologies Systems, Inc. (VT Systems), today announced that leading Philippine telecommunications service provider, Globe Telecom will leverage iDirect’s Evolution platform coupled with its X3 remote to offer corporate clients robust, flexible, and high speed connectivity that can meet their critical business needs and allow them to widen their reach in the Philippines.

WeChat and EasyTaxi team up for taxi bookings in Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines

Nearly five months after the initial tie-up in Singapore, today WeChat and EasyTaxi announced that its partnership is rolling out to Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines. Starting today, WeChat users in those three countries can flag a taxi inside the messaging app. People can do this by adding EasyTaxi’s official WeChat account inside the chat app (Malaysia: easytaximy; Thailand: EasyTaxiThailand; the Philippines: EasyTaxi_PH).

The Philippines partners with Google as cyclone predicted this month

The Philippines weather agency’s prediction models are telling them that the country might see a cyclone before the end of the month. This time, though, residents will be getting real-time alerts via Google’s search engine and maps. The Philippines Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has partnered with Google’s Public Alerts service to issue alerts for tropical cyclones forming in its area of jurisdiction. FutureGov spoke with Resly George Amador, a member of PAGASA’s technical group on public alerts to find out more.

Drones are helping battle malaria in Malaysia, Philippines

Researchers are using drones in Malaysia and the Philippines to track the environmental changes which allow malaria to flourish. Deforestation creates conditions that allow the easy spread of infectious diseases, and also indicate greater human activity. By using drones to track this, scientists can model the spread of a disease, estimate its likely impact and create early warning systems, according to a new scientific paper published this month by a team from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Open dataset of the week: The Philippines Budget

This week’s open dataset of the week is: Budget data from the Philippines. This is a popularly used dataset in the country, and features a number of infographics and apps using the data. Budget data is useful for citizens, businesses and public agencies to see how their government is prioritising its spending. The data could be also combined with location data to see how money is allocated across a map or could be viewed by sector to see which economic or social problems the government is spending on.

iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to hit the Philippines on Nov 14

Has the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch left you drooling over your screen, waiting for the new phones to hit Philippine stores? We’ve got some good news: the wait will only be a few more days. Philippine carriers Smart Communications and Globe Telecom will release the latest iPhones for postpaid plans on November 14, according to reports citing statements from both companies. Subscribers may “register their interest” in the new phones now on Smart’s and Globe’s sites.

Weather forecasting tools reducing casualties in the Philippines

More weather tracking and forecasting tools are leading to fewer casualties and less property damage in the Philippines, according to the Department of Science and Technology. The government is monitoring all 258 rivers in the country for signs of flooding, said Raymund Liboro, Assistant Secretary of the Department. This is part of the nationwide project – National Operational Assessment of Hazards – set up in 2012 to better prepare for rain-triggered natural hazards, such as typhoons.

Where is Bitcoin headed in the Philippines? Here are some predictions for 2015

Let’s admit it: part of the fun in following the Bitcoin world is not really knowing where it will go. A cryptocurrency has never reached the scale that Bitcoin appears to be getting now, so we have no benchmark with which to predict its progress. This idea holds especially true for how Bitcoin will affect developing countries like the Philippines, where it has been hailed as a solution for expensive remittance fees – but, on the other hand, some dismiss it as a technology too complex for the masses.

600 municipalities in the Philippines to get internet next year

The Philippine government is introducing wireless internet connectivity to 600 more remote areas by next year using unassigned television frequencies. This is part of the Department of Science and Technology’s nationwide project to improve internet connectivity, so that citizens can benefit from e-government services in the long run, Undersecretary Louis Casambre told FutureGov in a separate interview.

Government authentication services made available at Manila malls

Citizens in Metro Manila, the Philippines, can now authenticate their documents at satellite offices in four malls across the city, the Department of Foreign Affairs has announced.  Previously, citizens needing an official stamp had to visit the consular office. Now, the same service is made available at malls from Monday to Saturday.

The Philippines government to make environmental data more open

To support its open data initiative, the government needs “an effective platform for the management of environmental information that the public can use with greater efficiency,” said Analiza Teh, Undersecretary, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. The government currently uses several systems both for monitoring and managing data internally, as well as publishing information and applications for citizens and businesses, said Bresilda Gervacio, Human Resource Development and Information Systems Assistant Secretary.

The Philippines’ participatory budgeting initiative ranked best in Asia

The Philippines’ initiative to engagement citizens in deciding National Budget priorities has been ranked the best in Asia by the Open Government Partnership. The Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Programme (GPBP) encourages local communities and civil society organisations to work with local governments in proposing priorities for the National Budget. The initiative was ranked third overall and was the only one from Asia included in the top 10 ranking by Open Government Partnership.