After its network upgrades in Metro Cebu, PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is further expanding its Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced networks in the rest of Cebu province, as well as key areas around the Visayas.
This year, more areas have been powered by Smart LTE, including key tourism areas like Oslob, Moalboal, Daanbantayan, Medellin, Toledo City, Bogo City and Carmen, where tourists can share photos and videos of their experiences using Smart LTE.
Smart has also expanded its LTE capacity in areas in Cebu City, Mandaue, Lapu-Lapu, Minglanilla and Talisay, while it has also been rolled out in Badian, Balamban, Barili, Catmon, Madridejos, Sibonga, and Tabuelan.
Improved mobile connectivity outside Cebu
Outside of Cebu, Smart LTE has also been deployed in key cities around the Visayas, including Kalibo in Aklan, Tagbilaran City in Bohol, Roxas City in Capiz, Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte, Jordan in Guimaras, Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental, Catbalogan City in Samar and Maasin City in Southern Leyte, to name a few.
“Our ramped-up roll-out in Cebu and the rest of the Visayas is part of Smart’s commitment to deliver world-class internet service to more Filipinos, wherever they may be in the country,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.
Recently, Smart also fired up LTE in Tacloban City, where improved connectivity has helped journalists send breaking news from all over Tacloban, as well as kept drivers plying long routes to and from the new Tacloban terminal in touch with their families throughout their days. In Ormoc City, on the other hand, improved fixed and mobile connectivity has made the city more attractive to investors, particularly business process outsourcing establishments.
“Being connected has a direct impact on the Filipino way of life, and improved connectivity enhances the lives of residents, and helps boost local businesses,” Tamayo said, adding that in areas where improved LTE networks have been put in place, small business owners and retailers have also reported an increase in earnings, boosted by improved mobile internet experience in their area.
Ramped-up LTE roll-out
Smart is accelerating its deployment of LTE, LTE-A and carrier aggregation across the country as part of Smart’s efforts to improve mobile data experience nationwide.
Carrier aggregation (CA) is a feature of LTE-A which enables the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver much faster data speeds to mobile phone users. 2-Component Carrier (2CC) carrier aggregation features the combination of two frequencies, while 3CC involves three frequencies and 4CC, four bands.
Smart is doubling the number of LTE base stations to about 17,700 nationwide and raising the number of LTE-equipped cell sites to more than 6,800 by the first quarter of 2019, using frequencies that are compatible with CA-capable smartphones available in the market today.
Level Up To LTE in the Visayas
To fully enjoy the improved Smart LTE network, customers are encouraged to upgrade to an LTE-capable smartphone and an LTE SIM.
Smart Prepaid and Smart Postpaid customers can check if their SIMs are LTE-ready by texting SIMCHECK to 5832 for free.
Smart, TNT and Sun customers can also easily upgrade to an LTE SIM without changing their existing number by going to a nearby Smart Store or through an LTE-Ready Self-Service Upgrade SIM, which is available for P10 at Smart loading partners nationwide, with free 1GB data valid for three days upon upgrading.
Elsewhere in the country, Smart has also fired up LTE in the Philippines’ most picturesque tourist havens, including Batanes, Sagada, Puerto Princesa and Sarangani. It is on track toward to fulfill its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover 90% of the country’s cities and municipalities with mobile data service by the end of this year.
Parent company PLDT has committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation, with capital expenditures expected to reach P58 billion this year. Alongside Smart’s ramped-up LTE roll out, PLDT is also aggressively rolling out its fiber broadband service, which also supports the stepped-up deployment of the mobile network by providing high-capacity links for cellular base stations.