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Smart’s network rollout results to improved mobile Internet services

MANILA, Feb 23 (PNA) -- Smart Communications’ continuing rollout of its network infrastructure in Metro Manila has resulted to an improvement on its mobile Internet services.

Smart’s mobile Internet coverage and quality in the province of Rizal has improved particularly its 4G or LTE (Long Term Evolution) service based on the company’s internal tests conducted in the first two weeks of February.

Average download speeds of Smart’s LTE service jumped 455 percent to 23.3 megabits per second (Mbps) while the average download speed of its 3G service rose by 37 percent to 3.7 Mbps leading to the rise of subscriber data usage in Rizal.

Network monitoring shows data usage on LTE doubled during this period, while data usage on 3G has increased by 22 percent as a result of the significant increase in the number of LTE and 3G base stations in Rizal– LTE base stations soared 18 times while 3G base stations more than doubled.

“The Rizal results are very promising since they indicate what Smart is looking to achieve for Metro Manila – where we will make mobile data on LTE and 3G as pervasive as possible, providing fast speeds and great quality to all Smart mobile data users,” Joachim Horn, chief technology and information advisor for PLDT and Smart said in a statement.

Initial tests show that Smart users are already experiencing improvements in the quality of their mobile internet experience particularly in the densely populated areas of Antipolo City and the municipality of Tanay, and along major thoroughfares in the province like Marcos Highway.

According to Horn, Smart is in the process of equipping more base stations in Rizal using low-frequency bands to improve the coverage of both LTE and 3G.

“We are asking for people’s patience and understanding while we are making a lot of changes in our network facilities. These activities are being done during the most inactive hours of the day, and we are putting systems in place to keep to a minimum the impact on our subscribers. In the end, our commitment to all our subscribers is that they will enjoy progressively better mobile data services in the next few months, particularly for those using LTE devices,” added Horn.

Smart recently announced a major network expansion over the next three months, to quadruple its indoor LTE coverage and double its indoor 3G coverage across all 17 cities of Metro Manila, the country’s capital and also the most densely populated area.

It aims to deploy new base station equipment in about 2,500 cell sites across Metro Manila that use low-frequency bands such as 700 MHz, 850 MHz, and 900 MHz for its LTE and 3G services, since these frequency bands cover a larger area and provide better indoor signals.

The rollout also includes deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz, to increase the capacity of each Smart cell site to handle more calls, texts, and increasing mobile data traffic.

Smart started its network overhaul program in Boracay and Metro Davao in the early part of 2016, where subscribers have already reported significant improvements in the coverage and quality of Smart’s mobile data service, particularly for LTE. Activities for both Metro Cebu and Metro Manila are ongoing.

Smart has previously announced that it is focused on accelerating the deployment of LTE, because it is all-IP (internet protocol), which delivers a superior data experience. It also provides the platform to swiftly upgrade to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) which can deliver greater capacity and faster data speeds.

In the three-year network roll-out plan that parent-company PLDT submitted to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in July last year, Smart said it will make LTE progressively available to users in 1,551 cities and municipalities across the country by end-2018.

The plan includes the use of the 700 MHz frequency that Smart obtained access to under a co-use arrangement, after the acquisition of the telecoms business of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) by PLDT and Globe Telecom in May last year. (PNA)
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