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Online buy-and-sell firm urges more Filipinos to upgrade to smartphones

By Mark Tarre and Paulene San Miguel

OLX PHILIPPINES launched on Wednesday a new campaign called “Upgrade Philippines” aimed at encouraging at least a million Filipinos to switch to smartphones in the next couple of months.

“This movement empowers Filipinos to get into the fast lane and experience how a smartphone can greatly help improve and make their lives easier,” said RJ David, managing director and cofounder of OLX Philippines.

Smartphones are not just tools for communication but can also be used for making lives easier through different forms of collaboration and participation aimed at growth and development of a community.

“As a team, we have that vision that every Filipino has a smartphone on their hands not just to check e-mails or Facebook or watch videos but to be an integral part that actually improves their lives and their community and to actually contribute to the economic progression of this country—that is the higher mission of Upgrade Philippines,” Upgrade Philippines Chairperson Me-Anne Bundalian said.

Of the 101.1 million national population to date, 42 million and 36 million are active social media and mobile social users, respectively, according to global social-media agency We Are Social.

Year-on-year, smartphone shipments are expected to grow 20 percent. Its penetration in the Philippines is projected to increase by 10 percent to 40 percent this year.

“But there are still many Filipinos who do not enjoy these benefits and this is the idea behind Upgrade Philippines. We want more Filipinos to experience this and become part of this movement,” Bundalian said. She said the movement has two phases: The first is educating Filipinos about the potential of owning a smartphone and the second is helping them to upgrade easier.

“We actually encourage them to not just own but making possible for people to own a smartphone,” she said.

Upgrade Philippines also aims to make the people recognize that smartphones are essential tools in making change in our communities.

Through smartphones, our consciousness will elevate on different issues like employment, health, government, education, lack of resources.

“With these digital technologies we are able to start initiatives that will help our community. By using smartphones, we cannot actually help ourselves improve but we can also help our community through collaboration,” Cherry Mobile Brand Assistant Manager Sandra Dingal said.

“Upgrade Philippines is focusing on the smartphone as a platform or rather as a tool of empowerment and harnessing ICT for inclusive growth,” said Roy Espiritu, Department of Science and Technology-Information and Communications Technology Office (DOST-ICTO) Spokesperson.

He said this movement “jives with agencies whose goals are bridging the knowledge and economic gaps.”

Upgrade Philippines is spearheaded by OLX Philippines, in collaboration with the DOST-ICTO, Cherry Mobile and Globe Telecom.

“Hopefully, we will reach 10 million Filipinos to upgrade to smartphones by next year,” Bundalian said.

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