To date, more than 92% of sites in Metro Manila have already been upgraded with LTE.
Customers in Metro Manila can now enjoy better mobile internet experience as PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) continues the roll-out of Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) in the country’s main urban hub.
Smart has completed its most recent round of network upgrades in Metro Manila’s biggest metropolis Quezon City, as well as in Marikina City, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Navotas and Malabon. Other areas like the cities of Manila and Makati should expect the latest round of network improvement efforts are expected to be completed by October.
Smart has also successfully deployed carrier aggregation technology across all of Metro Manila’s 17 cities and municipalities, paving the way for much greater speeds in Metro Manila, where over 12 million Filipinos work and live.
In Quezon City and Marikina, Smart has also deployed 5-component carrier (5CC) aggregation, where speeds of more than 500 Mbps have been reached using capable devices.
Smart has deployed over 2,000 LTE sites across Metro Manila, which use low-frequency bands such as the 700 MHz band for wider coverage and better indoor penetration, and high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz bands for additional capacity. To date, more than 92% of sites in Metro Manila have already been upgraded with LTE.
LTE is the best technology to help bring fast, affordable and reliable mobile internet services to customers. Smart is also installing multiple LTE base stations in existing cell sites to lay the ground for LTE-A, which can provide even greater capacity and speeds to users with capable smartphones. Carrier aggregation, on the other hand, is a feature of LTE-A that allows the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and much faster data speeds to mobile phone users.
“In addition to our continuous investments in upgrading our network to improve customer experience in Metro Manila and across the country, we are also working with device manufacturers to make more LTE and LTE-A-capable devices available in the market,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.
“In areas like Metro Manila where there is already a concentration of users with these devices, we are also upgrading our network capacity to better handle our customer’s ever-growing mobile data needs,” Tamayo added.
Customers can enjoy the upgraded network that Smart is putting in place in more areas with LTE and LTE-A-capable smartphones such as the Huawei P20 series, Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9+, Huawei Mate 10, Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro, and Oppo F5, which are available with Smart.
Fastest network in the Philippines
As a result of network transformation efforts, PLDT and Smart were recently cited for being the country’s fastest fixed and mobile networks for Q1-Q2 2018, respectively, by Ookla®, the global leader in internet testing and analysis.
Earlier this year, independent mobile analytics company OpenSignal also cited Smart for being the fastest in the Philippines, with nationwide LTE download speeds of 12.5 Mbps, ahead of competition’s 7.7 Mbps. OpenSignal’s State of Mobile Network – Philippines report released in March 2018 also showed Smart dominating in all major regions, as its 4G/LTE availability also increased from 40% to 60% between the March 2017 and March 2018.
Underpinning this high level of service is PLDT’s fiber network, the most extensive in the country, which also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity fiber connections for LTE base stations.
Smart is on track to fulfilling 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.
Nationwide, 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, using frequencies that are compatible with CA-capable smartphones available in the market today.
Elsewhere in the country, Smart has successfully fired up LTE as far north as Batanes, Sagada and Cagayan, as well as in Palawan, Sorsogon, Cebu, Bohol, Leyte, Davao and Sarangani, to name a few.
PLDT has committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation which is estimated to amount to US$ 5 billion from 2016 to 2020, with capital expenditures expected to reach P58 billion this year.