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Smart LTE powers Southern Luzon islands

by Smart Communications | Sep 23, 2019
Students, small business owners in Catanduanes and Masbate feel the boost

Like most students these days, Catanduanes State University student Myko Arcilla turns to the internet to accomplish school work and do research. Today, with improved connectivity on their campus in San Andres, Catanduanes, Arcilla and his classmates can now go online and do their research faster.

This is after PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) has fired up more Long Term Evolution (LTE) sites across Southern Luzon, particularly in the island provinces of Catanduanes and Masbate, as part of its continuous network expansion program.

Like Arcilla, classmates Sharon Andaya and Evaniel Salabad of Dimasalang National High School in Dimasalang, Masbate are also using the LTE connection in their town for school. “LTE helps us with our assignments. We are also able to go on Facebook and Instagram, as well as watch videos on YouTube,” said Sharon.

Meanwhile, Catanduanes businessman Jony Ayoro, who sells gadgets and smartphones, is also among those who have reaped the benefits of stronger data connectivity in their area. “Since our town is already on LTE, I have started receiving more online orders. Business today is better,” said Ayoro.

With LTE in their province, customers can use their LTE-capable handsets to engage in online shopping, access information on the internet for research, stream videos on YouTube, play online games like Mobile Legends, post photos on Facebook or Instagram, or access other online services like mobile banking.

In addition to these towns, Smart has also activated LTE sites in the Masbate towns of Cataingan, Mobo and Palanas, to name a few.

“It’s so much easier to sell smartphones these days because the connection is much faster,” shares Roldan Mahinay, who works in a gadget shop in Cataingan. An avid Facebook fan, he says the improved connectivity in his town has allowed him to stay connected whether in his home or at work.

Aside from these areas, Smart has also recently fired up additional LTE sites in Batangas, Laguna, Quezon, Romblon, Mindoro Occidental and Camarines Norte.

Joyce Santander, who sells load at the Atimonan transport terminal, says the improvement in the network has likewise boosted her retailer business. “My sales have more than tripled compared to last year, now that more people are loading up on data packages, especially among students.”

“These expansion efforts are part of our commitment to improve customer experience and provide world-class connectivity to more areas in the country, including remote islands like Masbate and Catanduanes,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.

“With the LTE network that we have put in place, our customers can keep in touch with their loved ones, access important online services, use social media platforms to support their businesses, or stream videos for entertainment, even as they travel around the country,” said Tamayo.

“As we fire up more LTE sites across the region, we are connecting our customers across the Masbate and Catanduanes islands, as well as the rest of Southern Luzon, with the best mobile data experience, and transforming these areas into Smart LTE provinces,” said John Palanca, Smart vice president and regional head, Consumer Business—Customer Development.

Level up to LTE in Southern Luzon

To fully enjoy the improved LTE network, customers are encouraged to upgrade to an LTE-capable smartphone and an LTE SIM. All Smart, TNT and Sun subscribers can check if their SIMs are LTE-ready by texting SIMCHECK to 5832 for free. They can also check if their location is LTE ready by accessing smart.com.ph/LTE.

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.

Network transformation

The rising adoption by subscribers of LTE SIMs and LTE smartphones, alongside the increasing data usage for video and games and robust subscriber growth, have boosted PLDT’s consumer wireless business revenues for the first half of 2019, which grew 20% year-on-year to P34.4 billion.

Powering these services is PLDT and Smart’s sustained fixed and mobile network roll out and modernization. PLDT’s total fiber infrastructure spanning over 283,000 kilometers at the end of June also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links to its more than 19,000 LTE base stations.