GoSakto Promo Matrix


Globe Telecom’s GoSakto Promo for prepaid is gaining wide attention from subscribers in which many claim that it is much more powerful than Globe’s postpaid offerings. The idea is that you get to customize and create your own promo that would fit your budget and needs. You can specify the call minutes, number of texts, data limit, the network where your call and SMS will be valid, and even the validity period. There are a lot of combinations in which we can customize our own promo, and often times, the pattern is inconsistent specially regarding the amount of the promo. For example, if you create this promo:

  • Call & Text
  • Call
    • All Networks
    • 100 Minutes
  • Text
    • All Networks
    • 1000 Texts
  • Valid for 30 days
  • Amount = P742.00

What if you want to add 20MB of surfing? Surely, you would expect that you’d pay a lot more, but guess what, if you add 20MB worth of data to the promo above, you would only have to pay P667.00. That’s P75.00 of savings!


Due to this inconsistent nature of computation, I searched the web for the formula used by Globe to set the price for each combination of promo, but sadly, it seems that nobody is interested in knowing on how the amount was computed. So what I did was examine Globe’s GoSakto Facebook App, and see how it generates the amount and keyword of the promo. But as I delve deeper into the app, I found out that the computation wasn’t done in the user’s browser (client-side), instead was done in Globe’s servers (server-side). This is the time where I figured that it will be too hard (but not impossible) to crack down the algorithm that generates the amount to pay for the promo., But luckily, I found out that a certain API REST call can generate the list of the promos stored in Globe’s database. That means, even though I don’t know how to compute the amount, I can just browse through the list of all the promos, better than nothing. And here it is, I collated the list of all the GoSakto promos!

View it here via Google Spreadsheet.

GCash American Express Virtual Card: GCash Levels Up!

I have been using GCash ever since Globe Telecom introduced the service to the public, but never found it too useful at that time. Well, aside from being one of the first services to offer money transfer via mobile (I’m tempted to call it mobile banking but it’s not a bank account), which is cool at that time BTW, there were tons of fees for every transaction, including the transaction fee deducted from your load. But the real strength of GCash was the ability to send money anytime, anywhere, that’s why it was a hit on most Philippine online stores, even local buy and sell websites. It can even be used to pay bills and shop at partner establishments.  Other than the points stated above, the service doesn’t scale enough to become a full mobile banking experience. Though you can use it to shop at stores, I rarely see someone paying GCash for their purchases. It’s been years since I have been looking for a much more universal purpose for my GCash account.

But it seems that Globe is making a lot of changes and improvements to their GCash service, it’s probably because their rival, Smart, is gaining loyal customers from their own service, Smart Money. I have to admit, I was tempted to switch to Smart Money because of their added convenience over GCash. First and foremost, Smart offers a physical card that you can use at an ATM and swipe at stores as a debit card. Then Globe introduced the GCash Card. It also gives you a physical card powered by Megalink, but the only advantage over Smart, is that the design of the card is fully customizable, great for people who want to express their self through their card. But the draw back is that the transaction fee is ₱20.00, compared to the standard ₱10.00 for ATM cards and Smart Money (now at ₱15.00 effective October 2012). But even if both of them have physical cards now, Smart still has the upper hand. Their card is powered by MasterCard, which means it can be used on establishments where MasterCard is accepted, even online! So, here is where the new GCash American Express Virtual Card enters. A couple of months ago, Globe introduced a new innovation, where their subscribers can get their very own American Express virtual card that can be used to purchase online, in which actually, is the only purpose of this virtual card. This works like a debit account where the funds are automatically deducted from the user’s GCash Wallet. But now some of you will think, “What advantage does this offer compared to Smart Money?” Well, it has one advantage over it’s rival service, it comes with a free personalized US address courtesy of My Shopping Box. The major benefit from this is that you can shop on US online stores and lets you avail of some online stores’ free shipping to a US address, in this case, your personalized US address. You may shop until you drop, send them to your US address, then choose to ship all of your purchases all in one package to the Philippines, which in turn saves you shipping costs.

To summarize some of the key points of GCash AMEX Virtual Card, here is my list on what I think their pros and cons are:


  • Gives you a personalized US Shipping Address
  • Since it is powered by American Express, you can use it on online stores where AMEX is accepted. We have to take note that some locally-issued credit cards aren’t accepted by some US merchants, but I think this one is issued from the US as hinted on the billing address, which is your personalized US address.
  • Although you won’t get any physical card for your AMEX Virtual Card, you can opt for the GCash Card, powered by Megalink, that you can use on ATMs and as a debit card nationwide. I think it’s a pro, since you can customize the design of your card.
  • Secured security code. Your virtual card security code can be sent to your phone via SMS, also you can change it anytime you want to. If you think your security code has been compromised, feel free to request another one.
  • You get a free subscription to My Shopping Box that originally costs $25 annually.
  • Gives you a free one month trial for the virtual card.


  • Unlike Smart Money which doesn’t require you an annual fee, you can get GCash AMEX Virtual Card for a subscription fee of as low as ₱250.00 annually. Or you can opt to pay monthly or semi-annually (₱25 and ₱140 respectively). But considering it’s an American Express Card debit card ₱250 is quite low compared to credit cards (around ₱1,500) or prepaid cards (BPI My ePrepaid Mastercard for instance, costs around ₱500 to ₱600 for 2 years depending on your location).
  • It cannot be used in PayPal. Yes that’s the hard truth. If you already have a PayPal account which is already verified using your Philippine billing address, you’ll notice that when you try to add your virtual card, you can’t change the country for your billing address to US due to different “banking regulations”. Also don’t try to push your luck by entering your US address, even though the country selected is Philippines, your card won’t be verified. But when you create a new account using US as your address, chances are, you can’t verify it using your virtual card, since registering in PayPal in the US requires you to have a US bank account. Well, if you have a US bank account, that’s a different story.
  • It charges double currency conversion rates from international sites. American express charges 1.5% above the tagged market rate. Aside from that, GCash charges 0.5% to 1.5% on top of the AMEX rate.

If you think that you can handle the cons presented above, and excited about the pros of the virtual card, here’s how to apply:

  1. First and foremost, you have to be a Globe subscriber. Also, you have to be registered to GCash. If you aren’t registered yet, you may do so by dialing *143# on your Globe handset. Select GCash and follow the instructions.
  2. Now this is the crucial part, especially for prepaid subscribers. Get KYC’ed. KYC means “Know Your Customer”, a process required by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas which requires a one-time validation of your identity. This is to ensure that the person transacting with Globe is the real person he claims to be, which in turn adds a little more security for your mobile money transactions. The process could be as simple as personally transacting with Globe and showing a valid ID as proof of identity. For postpaid subscribers, simply call 2882, follow the voice prompts to get you to talk to a customer service representative and ask them to get KYC’ed. Since postpaid subscribers have already transacted with Globe upon applying for their postpaid plans, your personal information submitted upon your postpaid application will be used to get KYC’ed. For prepaid subscribers, you need to visit a Globe Store (yes, you’re required to personally visit a Globe Store; I think there are other places where you can get KYC’ed, these are Villarica Pawnshops, Prime Asia Pawnshops and SM Department Stores, not sure so a Globe Store would be better), ask them that you want to apply for a GCash AMEX Virtual Card, so they would know what you need to accomplish. Present a valid ID so they can verify your identity. If you want, you can take this chance to cash-in to your GCash Wallet.
  3. After 24 hours, visit the GCash AMEX Virtual Card webpage.
  4. Click Sign-Up for your ONE-MONTH FREE trial on the upper right corner of the main menu. Fill up the popup form with the correct details.
  5. If the system detects that you’re already KYC’ed, an email will be sent to you later on, informing you of your successful registration with the link to a PDF of your account details. If the system returns an error that you are not yet KYC’ed, you may opt to wait a little longer, system delays are not uncommon. But if you think that it was a mistake, you may contact the GCash Hotline at 2882.
  6. Included in the PDF is your new American Express Virtual Card number and your personalized US address courtesy of My Shopping Box. Take note, that it may take a while before you may be able to register to your My Shopping Box account, around an hour to a day.

Upon registering, you are given a free month trial of the service. After about a month, you will be notified to subscribe via their subscription plans mentioned above. The subscription fee may be automatically deducted from your GCash Wallet or you may choose to include it on your postpaid bill.

Using it online is just like using any other credit/debit card. Upon checking out your order, when you are prompted to enter you credit card details, simply use your virtual card number and your US billing address. The security code can be requested via *143#. Take note that your billing address and your shipping address may not always be the same. The billing address is the address used by your virtual card, while the shipping address is where you want your purchases delivered. If you’re shopping locally, you may use your home address as the shipping address. But if you’re shopping from a US online store, you may choose to ship your items at your personalized US address. You have the privilege of availing some store’s Free Shipping promotions to your US address. By logging in to your My Shopping Box account, you can check if your items has arrived and also opt to ship them to the Philippines. Visit their website to know how they compute their shipping rates. The general idea is that if you ship all of your items in one package, chances are the shipping rates are much lower than shipping them one at a time.

You may also use your virtual card to purchase digital goods from iTunes, Google Play and the like. You heard it right, you may use it to purchase in iTunes. I tried using it in Google Play by registering it in my Google Wallet. Registration was pretty straight-forward. Simply enter your account details with your US address as the billing address. Submit it and you’re ready to go. Take note that Google will charge your GCash wallet $1 to verify that your credit/debit card is valid. Unlike PayPal, which can hold funds to your account, PayPal can charge you $1 from your card and refund the amount to your PayPal balance. Google on the other hand simply relies on credit and debit card functionality in which it cannot return the $1 back to you. I think it’s not that bad, especially if you frequent Google Play.

GCash has evolved from an SMS-based micropayment service to a full-pledged payment system. I’m so glad that I can use my GCash Wallet for ATM/Debit transactions (via GCash Card) and for online shopping (via GCash AMEX Virtual Card). But like any other services, it’s not yet perfect. I have some suggestions that I think would further strengthen it’s stand. Brainstorm!!

  • I hope that the virtual card and the GCash Card be combined into one physical card. It would be nice if my physical card displays my AMEX card number. Of course it would be best if the card will still be fully customizable.
  • How about a second virtual card that has a Philippine billing address? I’m sure it would come in handy for people who uses PayPal, especially when transacting online where credit/debit cards are not feasible or where American Express is not accepted.
  • How about a credit system for postpaid subscribers? I hope that someday I can use GCash as a credit card, where my purchases aren’t debited, but credited to my GCash Wallet and payable via my postpaid bill. It would save time when you want to buy an item immediately but doesn’t have enough funds from your GCash Wallet. Also, it can pull people into applying for a postpaid plan. I think in other countries, some telecom companies enables you to purchase stuff and charges them to your bill.
  • Convert load to GCash. If GCash can be used to buy prepaid load, well, why not do the opposite. It always happens to me when my prepaid load balance is bigger than my GCash Wallet balance. It’s good for easily cashing-in GCash funds when you’re away from a GCash outlet, since an AutoloadMax is always closer to the subscriber than a GCash outlet. This will further integrate GCash to Globe services.
  • A more comprehensive online banking solution. I know that there exists an online service where you can transfer GCash on a click of the mouse. But it would be nice to login to a website and view your GCash balance, transaction history and transfer GCash to another person. This would be nice for people who want to control their budget and monitor their expenses effectively. This website could be a mobile site so GCash wouldn’t deviate much from it’s original aim, mobility.
  • Encourage banks to be a GCash outlet. It would be beneficial if transactions regarding money would be centralized to a certain location, which is the bank. In turn, this could lead to more banks supporting fund transfer to GCash. I know how it feels as a guy who needs to withdraw from my LandBank ATM (that’s where my payroll goes), go to a GCash outlet and cash-in to my GCash wallet. The less steps needed to funding GCash, the more subscribers will be attracted.
  • A flexible API, where website developer and application developers can embed into their websites/applications that enables them to perform purchases that are included in their transaction flow. This will allow in-app payments to buy digital goods (i.e. game items, game credits, unlock full version, etc.) and pay them via GCash within the app. Or if a webmaster has an e-commerce site, users can checkout with their purchases and opt to pay via GCash and automatically processes the purchase, similar to how PayPal and Google Wallet does. Or if the PayPal-like service is to big of a task, find a local online service that do just that, partner with them and enable them to automatically deduct funds from GCash.
  • Probably use an NFC chip for tapping and shopping. We know that Smart has been testing the NFC technology for these purposes, so why not develop an app using this technology and GCash?

I just hope that Globe promotes this service heavily to achieve a widespread acceptance of the average Filipino consumer. I can’t wait what Globe would bring us next time. Surprise us!

Free Facebook from Globe, Officially for a Limited Time Only

In order to promote Globe Telecom’s new USSD number, *143#, Globe gives their subscribers to browse Facebook using their mobile phones for free. Take note that this offer is on a subscription basis and is not automatically enabled. Subscription is valid until March 14, 2012 only. When subscribed, the user can use their mobile phone browser and simply go to http://m.facebook.com. Take note that browsers like Opera Mini which proxies the page using their own servers won’t work with this promo.

Subscribing is easy, there’s even no text format to follow, simply dial *143# on your Globe handset. Since this is a USSD code, it will work regardless of what phone model you are using, whether a smartphone, a black and white phone or even the early 2000 models would work. Upon dialing the number, it will present you with a menu, select “5 Surf Promos & Free FB”. Then another menu will come up then select “1 FREE Facebook” then opt to subscribe. After a while a confirmation text will be sent to you. Mine reads like this:

You are now registered to FREE FB. Enjoy FREE Facebook on your mobile phone until Mar 14, 2012! Click on http://m.facebook.com to start browsing. To check status, text FREE FB STATUS to 8888. To stop the service, text FREE FB STOP to 8888. Stopping the service will automatically forfeit remaining days available. Promo is NOT open to Opera Mini browser users. Regular browsing rates apply when accessing other links (ex: Youtube, Yahoo, etc), unless registered to an internet promo. You can also register to PowerSurf, P15 for 1 hour or 20MB of consumable mobile internet. Text POWERSURF15 to 8888 to register. Guided by Globe Acceptable Terms on Fair Use. Promo til 03/14/2012. DTI 0997 and 0995.

I’m pretty sure that this promo would make heads turns and would likely increase the share of the pie for Globe in the telecom business, even if it’s for only a certain period of time.

Free GPRS Access From Globe

Globe Telecom

Globe TelecomA few months ago I wrote an article about having free mobile access to Facebook through Globe. After using it for quite a while, I figured out, that it wasn’t just Facebook that can be accessed free, it’s basically everything! Yes everything, including Twitter, Yahoo!, Google, etc. To be exact, it’s not actually free, strictly speaking, there are some conditions to be fulfilled.

  1. I’m on Prepaid. I’m not sure if it will work on Postpaid, I haven’t tried. But since all prepaid subscribers are automatically on Time-based internet charging, I think it makes sense.
  2. I’m on Time-based charging. As explained from above, I’m on prepaid. Last time I checked, prepaid subscribers cannot switch to per-KB charging. So basically, I’ll be charged ₱5.00 per 5 minutes of surfing.
  3. I use GPRS. I use it on my mobile phone which is not 3G-capable, but can browse using Edge GPRS. I’m not sure about the 3G or 4G thing though. I use myGlobe Connect settings.
  4. I use my phone’s native browser. I haven’t tried it with other mobile browsers like Opera Mini or Bolt Browser, it’s not because I don’t want to, it’s because I can’t. I’ve been asking Globe customer service for 3 years now about the “Subscribe to Packet Data” thing when I launch Opera Mini and other apps that connect to the net, but they’ll just ignore you. If you ask them through chat, they say that it’s not their problem and log out of the chatroom. If you talk to them through phone, they’ll just say they’ll see what they can do and send you GPRS settings that they’ve already sent you 5 calls ago.
  5. I haven’t tried any Unlisurf promos. I’m not sure if this can be considered as a condition, but it’s useless to subscribe to Unlimited surfing, when you can get it free.
  6. I keep my load below ₱5.00. I can’t emphasize this enough. Here is the tricky part, if you browse using your phone with lots of load, it will, for sure, incur browsing charges. But if you keep it below ₱5.00, Time-based charging can’t charge you, but you can surf the web just fine.

Try it, have your load, say ₱3.50, then open your mobile web browser and go to Facebook Mobile. If you’ve been connected, then lucky for you, you can browse just fine. Surf a bit more and check for your load. If your balance remains the same, then what I’ve written above is true. But if your balance becomes zero, then lucky for you, since you’ve browsed the web through your phone for the price of ₱3.50 instead of the usual ₱5.00. But of course, it’ll be slow, don’t set your hopes up too high.

I’m hoping that this isn’t a bug on Globe’s part. But I’m hoping more that they wouldn’t try to fix this. I think it’ll be a big advantage for Globe over other networks to offer free slow internet browsing to all subscribers and having a faster internet access for those paying customers. So while we still have access to this free service, switch your SIMs to Globe now!!

I am not claiming that this will work for everyone, but this works for me. Please take note that these are how my mobile phone is set-up and not in any way the exact set-up needed to get this to work. Try and experiment what works for you. Post a comment if it works.

Free Facebook Mobile from Globe

I think this has been going for a long time now, but it seems that Globe Telecom has finally got an answer on Sun Cellular’s Facebook Zero. Globe subscribers can now access Facebook Mobile for free without using any tricks nor proxies, not even 3rd party applications. All you need is your mobile phone’s browser. I just tried it this Christmas, and it works! I wasn’t aware of this before, but if somebody knows about it ages ago, please feel free to comment on when this great phenomenon started.

I was on an out-of-town vacation this Christmas, without any Wi-Fi networks in sight, all that’s left for me is to use my phone for browsing. But the problem is I have zero load balance on my Globe Prepaid handset, but even if I had balance, I still wouldn’t be able to use my phone as a modem since Globe still refuses to activate it for me and only gives me that good ol’ GPRS connection for plain WAP browsing. Out of boredom, without any choice but to browse the Globe WAP site, I tried experimenting with other websites. I tried http://m.facebook.com out of randomness, but it redirected me to the Globe landing page that tells me about their charging rates and their promos to avail of browsing select sites like m.facebook.com, m.twitter.com, etc. for only ₱20. But when I tried to go to http://www.facebook.com, I was a bit surprised to see that I was redirected to the facebook mobile login page. I tried to login, and voila, I was forwarded to my Facebook home page where I can see my friends’ status updates. And for the final test to check whether it was really free, I tried to update my status. Then, it appeared to my wall! It was a success! My sister-in-law was really pissed off at me since she has to go all the trouble to load ₱60 to her Smart handset and subscribe to one-day unlimited browsing just to hog her time updating her Facebook status while I had the luxury of browsing for free with zero load balance on my Globe handset.

Please take note, I have only tried it with two Globe SIMs and two not-so-old phones (Nokia 3110 Classic and Nokia 6610i), and so far it works. I also haven’t tried accessing Facebook from my phone after loading prepaid credits. I wrote this since I still hadn’t found any blogs or websites writing about this, the ones that I found need some tricks and proxies just to browse Facebook for free. If this was a bug on Globe’s part, then you didn’t read this from me.

EDIT: I figured out that it’s not just Facebook that you can access on your mobile phone.