[Battle of the Brands] Globe vs Smart: Which is the Better Mobile Network?
By: Venus Zoleta
Published on: October 31, 2019 . Last updated: March 27, 2020 Category: Personal Finance
“Globe or Smart?” For the longest time, consumers have only these two telecommunication giants in the Philippines as choices of prepaid and postpaid mobile services.
The Ayala-owned Globe Telecom, Inc. is one of the biggest and most profitable companies in the country, with 74.1 million mobile subscribers (including TM subscribers). Meanwhile, the PLDT-owned Smart Communications, Inc. serves around 95% of cities and towns in the Philippines, with 60.5 million mobile subscribers (including Sun and TNT subscribers).
But with the entry of a third major telco player, Dito Telecommunity (formerly Mislatel Consortium), the competition will become more intense. Dito will launch its services and accept subscribers in 2020.
So for now, let’s focus on the duopoly of Globe vs Smart. This Battle of the Brands edition looks into the prepaid and postpaid mobile offerings of the two telco companies to help you decide whether it’s wiser to stick to your current provider or switch to another network.
We’re also comparing Globe’s and Smart’s travel SIM packages to see which has better offerings for foreign tourists and OFWs/balikbayans.
Table of Contents
- Globe vs Smart Prepaid Services
- Globe vs Smart Postpaid Plans
- 4G Availability
- Globe vs Smart: Mobile Data Connection Speed
- Globe vs Smart Travel SIM
- Globe vs Smart: Final Thoughts
Globe vs Smart Prepaid Services
|Services||Globe Prepaid Rates||Smart Prepaid Rates|
|Calls to the same network||PHP 6.50/minute||PHP 6.50/minute (including TNT)|
|Calls to another network||PHP 7.50/minute (including TM)||PHP 7.50/minute|
|Calls to landline (nationwide)||PHP 7.50/minute||PHP 7.50/minute|
|International calls||USD 0.40/minute||USD 0.40/minute|
|Text to the same network||PHP 1||PHP 1|
|Text to another network||PHP 1||PHP 1|
|Text roaming||PHP 20 (Asia, Middle East, and the US) / PHP 25 (Europe and Africa)||PHP 20|
|Mobile internet||PHP 5 per 15 minutes||PHP 5 per 15 minutes (time-based browsing) / PHP 2 per MB (volume-based browsing)|
For most prepaid services, Globe and Smart charge equal rates. Oddly, Globe’s rate for voice calls to TM (which is Globe’s subsidiary) is the same as calls to other networks.
In terms of text roaming, Globe has a higher rate than Smart for SMS sent from European and African locations.
Call and Text Promos
|Price||Globe GoUNLI Promos||Smart All Out Surf Promos|
Globe prepaid subscribers have the edge because all Globe GoUNLI promos come with unlimited calls to Globe and TM.
Smart’s call and text promos priced at PHP 99 and below offer only a limited duration of calls to the same network, ranging from 20 to 100 minutes. Smart prepaid promos with unli calls to Smart, Sun, and TNT start at PHP 75.
Globe has a prepaid promo valid for 15 days, perfect for subscribers who buy cellphone load every payday. Smart doesn’t have a promo with 15-day validity.
Smart prepaid call and text promos offer more data as a freebie than Globe. The former also provides more options—though more expensive—for a 30-day validity period.
However, considering that subscribers avail of call and text promos to maximize their money for calls and SMS, Globe’s cheaper GoUNLI promos beat Smart’s All Out Surf promos in this respect.
|Price||Globe GoSURF Promos||Smart GigaSurf Promos|
Globe provides more value for money with its mobile data promos compared to Smart. Prepaid subscribers can get extras such as free 1GB GoWiFi access at over 2,000 hotspots in malls, airports, LRT, restaurants, and other public areas. A digital voucher worth PHP 50 is also offered on Globe GoSURF promos at PHP 299 and above. GCash users can redeem the voucher for discounts on QR transactions at participating GCash partner merchants.
Globe has a wider range of choices for prepaid subscribers who want to avail of a surf-only package, especially heavy data users who consume more than 5GB of mobile data every month. It also offers the cheapest data promo at PHP 15. Smart’s GigaSurf promos start at PHP 50.
Smart’s data-only promos are an advantage for people who often stream videos.
Both Globe and Smart offer promos that combine call, text, and data.
Globe’s GoSAKTO lets prepaid subscribers create a promo customized to their needs and budget for as low as PHP 7. Through the *143# menu or GoSakto website or mobile app, subscribers can select their desired promo type (call/text/surf only, call and text, call, text, and surf, etc.), call minutes, number of texts, promo duration, and more.
Meanwhile, Smart’s call, text, and data promos come in fixed packages (ranging from PHP 20 to PHP 849) that suit different types of mobile data users. For video streaming enthusiasts, Giga Video promos include 1GB daily for YouTube, iflix, iWant TV, NBA League Pass, or Cignal TV. There are also promos for gamers, with 1GB daily for Mobile Legends, Clash Royale, AOV, or Clash of Clans. For those who love sharing updates on social media, Giga Stories consists of promos offering 1GB of Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and TikTok.
The two network’s combo promos suit different types of prepaid subscribers. Globe’s GoSAKTO promos cater more to budget-conscious consumers, while Smart’s Giga promos appeal more to heavy users of video streaming, gaming, or social media apps.
Globe vs Smart Postpaid Plans
When it comes to postpaid services, Globe and Smart seem to be in a neck and neck race, trying to outperform each other and lure more customers.
In mid-2019, Smart rolled out its newest Signature plans, replacing the GigaX postpaid plans launched the previous year. Smart Signature subscribers are prioritized on the Smart LTE network, which means they enjoy consistent internet connection even during peak hours when there’s a high demand for mobile data.
Not to be outdone, Globe beefed up its postpaid plans, collectively called ThePlan, to match the data allocation of Smart postpaid plans and offer more freebies.
The two postpaid services offer both SIM-only plans and plans bundled with a mobile device. SIM-only postpaid plans have more consumable data and call minutes than plans with a bundled device. Both Globe and Smart postpaid plans allow data rollover that transfers unused data from the previous to the current month.
Here’s a Globe vs Smart comparison to help you choose the better postpaid service provider for you.
SIM-Only Postpaid Plans
|Monthly Fee||Globe ThePLAN PLUS||Smart Signature|
Globe ThePlan Plus has a wider variety of options than Smart Signature, offering cheaper plans at PHP 599 and PHP 799 (which Smart doesn’t have). Plans 999 and above also come with free subscriptions to DisneyLife and Amazon Prime Video for six months.
Globe and Smart don’t differ much in their monthly data allocation. However, Globe provides better value for money with the additional 1GB monthly for Facebook on all its postpaid plans.
Likewise, their call and text inclusions are similar, except for Globe’s Plan 2999 with unlimited calls to all networks versus Smart’s Plan 999 with 600 minutes of calls to all networks.
If you sign up for Smart Signature without a device, your postpaid plan will be under a six-month contract. Globe has no lock-in period for its SIM-only postpaid plans.
Postpaid Plans with Device
|Monthly Fee||Globe ThePLAN||Smart Signature with Device|
Globe vs Smart in terms of postpaid plans with device, the former performs better than the latter. Like the Globe’s SIM-only version, its plans with device also come in a wider range of options. All ThePlan bundles come with freebies like 1GB monthly for Facebook and one month of Gadget Care phone insurance coverage. Plans 999 and above also include a free six-month subscription to DisneyLife and Amazon Prime Video.
Globe’s and Smart’s postpaid plans with the device have more or less the same monthly data allocation. They also offer the same call minutes and unlimited texts to all networks.
Both Globe and Smart require a lock-in period of 24 months for their postpaid plans with device.
More than the prepaid promos and postpaid plans, a good measure of a mobile network’s performance is its 4G signal availability.
According to the latest Mobile Network Experience Report (1) by independent mobile analytics company Opensignal, Globe and Smart have nearly the same 4G availability scores.
The study found that Globe subscribers with a 4G device could connect to 4G signal 75.3% of the time, a slightly higher score than Smart’s 74.3%. Opensignal noted that their scores had improved by at least 3 percentage points in the last six months (from March to September 2019).
Globe vs Smart: Mobile Data Connection Speed
Internet connection speed is an all-important factor for smartphone users today—when you compare Globe vs Smart, this is where Smart outperforms Globe. Overall, Smart mobile subscribers enjoy faster connection speeds than Globe.
The latest Opensignal report shows Smart winning in four different matrices on 3G and 4G connections: video experience, download speed, upload speed, and latency.
Mobile Video Experience
This matrix measures load times and stalling occurrences. Smart got a Fair score of 47.6 out of 100 points, which means loading videos take reasonable time and there’s minimal stalling at low video resolutions. Meanwhile, Globe got a Poor score of 30.4, which means videos take longer to load and are more likely to stall even at the lowest resolutions.
Smart is ahead of the download speed race, with an average of 9.4Mbps versus Globe’s 6.5Mbps.
Smart also has the upper hand when it comes to upload speeds, with an average that’s twice as Globe.
Latency, measured in milliseconds (ms), refers to the delay mobile users experience as data travels through the network. This is an important metric that defines the mobile experience in using apps for video streaming, gaming, and instant messaging.
A lower latency score means the network is more responsive. Smart scored 61.9, which is lower than Globe’s 64.2.
Consistency of Quality Connections
Also worth comparing is how the two networks fare in providing consistent quality connections to their mobile users.
In another study (2) by crowd-sourced mobile data company Tutela, Smart performed better than Globe in terms of basic quality and excellent quality connections.
For basic quality (e.g., web browsing and using email or simple apps like Facebook), Smart subscribers could connect 91% of the time. This is slightly higher than Globe’s 89.3%.
Smart enjoyed a wide lead over Globe in terms of excellent quality connection (e.g., heavy data usage such as 1080p video streaming and HD video calling), with a score of 48.8%. This is more than double of Globe’s 23.8% score.
Globe vs Smart Travel SIM
Globe and Smart have LTE-capable travel SIM cards for foreign tourists and OFWs or balikbayans on a short stay in the Philippines. These are useful for getting in touch with travel buddies in the country and loved ones from their home country.
|Price||Globe Traveler SIM||Smart Tourist SIM|
|PHP 349 (Smart) / PHP 350 (Globe)|
|PHP 699 (Smart) / PHP 700 (Globe)|
Like regular SIM cards, travel SIM cards come with promos that are valid for at least one week. Prices of Globe and Smart promos for travel SIM cards are quite the same, but Smart offers more data (plus 1GB daily for Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp).
Smart travel SIM promos also offer unlimited calls to all networks, including PLDT landline, while unli calls in Globe promos are limited to Globe and TM. However, if you prefer to use your travel SIM card to send text messages to your loved ones abroad, you’ll get a better deal with Globe’s unlitext to all international networks.
If you’ll stay in the Philippines for a longer time (up to 30 days), you can save more with Smart’s promo that costs PHP 999.
The validity periods apply to the promos’ inclusions only. Once you’ve used up the credits included in the promo, you can reload your SIM card at convenience stores, small retail stores, and other establishments that sell prepaid load all over the Philippines.
Globe vs Smart: Final Thoughts
All in all, Globe provides better prepaid promos and postpaid plans, while Smart has faster and more reliable mobile data, as well as better travel SIM promos.
Globe vs Smart, which mobile network provider should you go with?
It still depends on your budget, needs, and mobile usage (i.e., which apps you frequently use and how often you make calls and send text messages). Consider also the network provider of the people you communicate most with. For instance, if most of your family, friends, and colleagues are on Smart, then you can save more when you subscribe with Smart. The same goes for Globe.
If fast mobile internet matters most to you, then Smart makes a better choice.
If you want to ensure you get a strong signal everywhere, consider getting both a Globe SIM card and a Smart SIM card. Modern smartphones accommodate two SIM cards anyway.
- (1) Philippines Mobile Network Experience Report September 2019 (Opensignal, 2019)
- (2) Southeast Asia State of Mobile Networks February 2019 (Tutela, 2019)
Venus is the Head of Content at Moneymax, with over 15 years of combined experience in digital marketing, corporate communications, PR, and journalism. She invests in stocks, mutual funds, VUL, and Pag-IBIG MP2. Outside of work, she’s crazy about cats and Korean dramas. Follow Venus on LinkedIn.