After consistently staying ahead of competition, mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), wireless arm of the country's largest integrated telco PLDT, is setting its sights higher and is looking to reach the level of global tier 1 operators in two years.
In the third quarter of 2020, Smart posted a "good" score of 750 in umlaut's benchmarking survey, breaching the 700-level for the first time. According to umlaut's mobile wireless benchmark trend, Smart has consistently led by a large margin over its competitor, even as umlaut's standards became tougher each year.
"umlaut’s framework is based on a unified measurement method that covers majority of the population and main areas of mobile use. Smart’s goal is to reach a score of at least 900 within the next few years, thus meeting global competitive standards," said Mario G. Tamayo, Senior Vice President and Head of Network Planning and Engineering for PLDT and Smart.
Hakan Ekmen, CEO of umlaut Telecommunication, said: “Our umlaut Mobile Benchmark is the de-facto industry standard, fairly and transparently assessing the global digital infrastructure. Congratulations, we can confirm the continuous improvements of customer experience in Smart's mobile network”.
umlaut also recently
conferred the ‘Best in Test’ award, as well as recognized Smart for delivering the best-rated broadband coverage, user download experience and latency experience, even as COVID-19 restrictions hampered network personnel movement across the country earlier this year. Customer experience is a key measure in the testing. This was on top of the “Best in Test” award received by Smart in 2019
which cited Smart for having the best and widest 4G/LTE coverage, and fastest upload and download speeds. umlaut also said that Smart provided the best network performance during the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in December 2019.
The Germany-based global, full service technology and consulting company also cited Smart for consistently showing higher throughput rates than its competitor. These findings were based on an analysis of 610 million samples collected from 268,000 users nationwide from February to July 2020 using the crowd data.
These continuing network improvement initiatives form a large part of the PLDT Group’s sustained investments in capital expenditures, which have totaled some Php432 billion from 2011 to September 2020. PLDT’s expansion efforts and investments helped the Group cope with sustained growth in data traffic when COVID-19 community quarantines commenced in March. PLDT is anticipating capex of at least P70 billion for 2020.
Underpinning this performance is PLDT’s most extensive fiber network, which is now at 395,000 kilometers as of end-September. This fiber network also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links for its LTE base stations.
Covering more than 200 mobile networks in more than 120 countries worldwide, umlaut’s network benchmarks are widely accepted as the global de-facto industry standard.