Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Da Highlight of SONA 2008

"Texting is a way of life. I asked the telecoms to cut the cost of messages between networks. They responded. It is now down to 50 centavos."
--Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, SONA 2008

Of the 102 times that Mrs. Arroyo's State of the Nation Address received last Monday, that announcement easily elicited the loudest and longest applause. It's only halfway to the proposed free texting that our lawmakers were advocating just two months ago, but hey, it's better than nothing, right?

Well, not so fast.

If you were among those taken in by the glorious announcement, I would ask you to reconsider before you double the volume of your text output: the 50-centavo-per-text rate is actually only a promo.

As my friend, Migs Hipolito, who first uncovered this, points out: it's only available to prepaid subscribers, you need to register, and you need to maintain a P21.00 balance before registering. After registering, P20 will be deducted from your balance, and you will be given 40 SMS credits, which will expire in 24 hours.

For Globe and Smart, this promo lasts until October 22, 2008, unless extended. Only Sun Cellular has made this a permanent offer.

I don't know which is more pathetic, really: that this announcement received the most applause, or that the annual report on the state of the nation's health became the platform for announcement of a telco's promo and the highest official of the land a corporate endorser.

Still, better than nothing, right?

Picture made with The GIMP.