PHL may be first in Asia to get iPhone 5

The Philippines is likely to be among the first countries in Asia to get the much-awaited iPhone 5, which is expected to be launched in the US sometime next week.

Local telco Smart Communications Inc.'s chief wireless advisor, Orlando Vea, said in an interview at the Asian Carriers’ Conference (ACC) Apple Inc. that Apple Inc. is eyeing the Philippines as one of its first markets for the new phone.

“Hopefully we are the first in Asia,” Vea said.

He explained that the Philippines' high consumption of social media such as Facebook and Twitter make it a "digital literate country" that is well positioned to become an initial market for the iPhone 5.

The iPhone 5 has been much anticipated as it is rumored to sport a larger and thinner form factor than its predecessors, and is Apple's first flagship phone since the demise last year of its visionary leader, Steve Jobs.

Smart's parent company, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), claims a total subscriber base of 67.4 million, of which 3.1 million are broadband subscribers. For its part, Smart has a 26.9 million-strong subscriber base, with an additional 24 million subscribers under its Talk 'N Text subsidiary brand.

Smart's newly-acquired subsidiary, Digital Telecommunication (Digitel), has 15.9 million subscribers under its Sun Cellular brand. — TJD, GMA News

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