Smart will still commit to providing free WiFi to key areas around the Philippines
UPDATE: with Google’s full official statement
More than a year after inking a partnership with Smart, Google announced that it is shutting down Google Stations around the world gradually throughout 2020. These include Google Stations in India, Indonesia, Thailand, Mexico, Nigeria, Brazil, Vietnam, and the Philippines. In the Philippines alone, there are at least 400 Google Stations spread across train stations, airports, schools, and coffee shops.
We reached out to Smart and while we confirmed that they are indeed ending their partnership with Google, the service will still live on. This corroborates with Manila Bulletin’s findings that some of these Google Stations will be absorbed by their partners and will be “rebranded to reflect the partner’s name and services”.
In Google’s official statement, they said that “the prevalence of the 4G network and the different technical requirements across countries” are one of the factors that led them to shut down the service.
Here’s Google’s official statement:
In line with Google’s mission, we started Google Station in 2016 to help bring more people online. We’re humbled that our work has been able to help millions of people experience the power of the internet for the first time. However, the ecosystem has evolved since then—4G is getting prevalent in a number of markets and data prices are dropping globally. This, combined with the complex and varying technical requirements across partners and countries, makes it a challenge to scale and sustain Station. This has made us re-evaluate our plans and we have decided to wind down the program through 2020. We are working with our partners to support our users and them to gradually transition. We remain committed to look for ways to make the internet more accessible for users around the world.