Smart To Roll Out Over 4,200 3G, LTE Sites By End-2017

Smart Communications is expected to complete the installation of more than 4,200 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) sites nationwide by yearend, in line with efforts to improve the delivery of mobile services to its subscribers.

“Our commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission is to meet 90-percent municipality coverage next year for 3G and 4G mobile broadband, and we are well on track to meet this,” Joachim Horn, chief technology and information advisor for PLDT, said in a statement.

“We are already at about 89 percent, so we will definitely meet that target early next year,” Horn added.

The telco has heightened up its rollout of mobile data, with 90 percent of LTE sites completed in Metro Manila, according to Horn.

Improvements in LTE sites have been experienced in the metropolis. Recent internal tests in Parañaque, for example, recorded median LTE download speeds of 17.9 megabits per second (Mbps) and median upload speeds of 12 Mbps.

Meanwhile, median download and upload speeds of 27.6 Mbps and 16.1 Mbps, respectively, were posted in Caloocan. In Taguig, Smart LTE posted median download speeds of 18.6 Mbps, while median upload speeds were at 13.7 Mbps.

Smart is also pursuing further upgrades for LTE sites with four component carrier aggregation or 4CC.

“Carrier Aggregation” (CA) allows for the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and much faster data speeds to mobile users. 4CC aggregation features the combination of four separate spectrum blocks to deliver much greater capacity and speeds.

Earlier this year, Smart activated 4CC in Boracay, reaching average speeds of 280 Mbps in initial runs using Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, 4CC carrier aggregation-capable smartphones available in the market.

Internal tests also showed consistent delivery of speeds breaching 300 Mbps in a single-user scenario, and over 200 Mbps in a multi-user, daytime set-up following the initial deployment of 4CC technology in Metro Manila.

“This only goes to show that we have put in place a network that is capable of providing these high speeds,” said Horn.

Smart has finished its LTE deployment in Metro Davao and Metro Cebu, in the island of Boracay, and in the province of Rizal. It is currently underway in Metro Manila and in key cities in other parts of the country.

It has also partnered with mobile device vendors to provide affordable LTE capable smartphones. It also encourages its customers to upgrade to LTE SIMs, so they can maximize Smart’s LTE network. It recently launched an LTE SIM check via SMS program, where customers can text SIMCHECK to 5832 to check if their SIMS are already LTE-capable or not. (PR)

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