PLDT GLOBAL Corp. (PGC) has partnered with remittance firm I-Remit, Inc. to offer its mobile phone app payment service to Filipino expatriates in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, and Italy, among others.

In a statement on Tuesday, Smart Communications, Inc. said PGC, a wholly owned subsidiary of PLDT, Inc., has teamed up with remittance company I-Remit to launch its Free Bee payment service worldwide.

“This means that overseas Filipinos in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Italy and other parts of the world can now make Free Bee payments with zero service fees,” it added.

Free Bee is an ad-based calling app that offers users a two-minute free international call to the Philippines, Smart also noted.

Smart said this new service is a “game changer” for Filipino workers abroad because it enables them to reach their families in the Philippines who do not have an access to the internet or a smartphone device.

The application also offers longer calls and ad-free options through the Premium Free Bee voice call plans from global retailers or via in-app and online purchases, it added.

Smart noted that Free Bee was recognized recently as Telecom Asia’s “most innovative voice solution.”

Through this payment mode, users will have their service purchases credited directly to their accounts.

“This is part of our commitment to bring more innovative and convenient digital solutions to every Filipino in every corner of the world, and hopefully, help make their connections to their families back home stronger, and their lives better,” Albert Villa-Real, PGC chief commercial officer, was quoted as saying in the statement.

PGC is under PLDT’s international carrier business group. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin