Smart says multimedia content usage rising due to LTE coverage

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Mobile operator Smart Communications said rich multimedia content is now more accessible through its 4G LTE network nationwide.

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Smart said content services such as mobile music, books, magazines, games, and video saw a 121-percent surge to over 15,000 terabytes (or 15 million gigabyte) of data exchanged through its network for the first half of 2014.

Orlando Vea, chief wireless advisor at Smart, said the availability of a robust mobile network and multimedia content offerings has likewise contributed in smartphone adoption among Smart?s subscribers.

Today, more than a 20 percent of the telco?s user base is using Internet-enabled smartphones, which can be used to access multimedia services.

Some of these content offerings by Smart include Spinnr, the country?s first mobile streaming service for mobile devices that has been ranked the number one music streaming app in the country.

Smart has also begun offering digital content that can be bought using subscribers? cellphone load. This includes the likes of GameX, which gives users instant access to gaming e-Pins and various mobile games; and Buqo, which allows them to download and read digital books and magazines on their devices.

Just recently, Smart announced the availability of ViewStream for Android devices, which gives local sports aficionados a virtually buffer-free video streams of the Gilas Pilipinas games in the upcoming 2014 Fiba World Cup in September.

Smart says it currently leads in the deployment of high-speed mobile broadband in the Philippines with more than 10,000 active 4G-enabled sites scattered all across the country.

The growing appetite for on-the-go, real-time information, and mobile entertainment services will see the total number of subscribers for 4G LTE and 4.5G LTE-Advanced grow to nearly 411 million and 22 million respectively by year-end 2014, according to analyst firm ABI Research.

ABI Research?s 4G network deployment tracker anticipates that 45 networks will have commercially launched LTE-Advanced by 4Q 2014.

Over 337 of the world?s mobile networks had already deployed 4G LTE by the end of 2Q 2014. The evolution of LTE to LTE-Advanced has seen the technology gain traction in regions like North America and Asia-Pacific, with Western Europe trailing slightly behind in subscriber numbers.

While there is some upgrade and replacement of LTE mobile devices from the first wave of LTE adopters, a significant percentage of this year?s mobile device shipments will still be to new LTE subscribers.

ABI Research estimates that nearly 482 million LTE handsets will be shipped in 2014, up by nearly 150 million units from the previous year and expects that number will grow to 1.34 billion by the end of 2019.

Global LTE network coverage is expected to cover more than 30 percent of the world?s population by the end of 2014. In tandem with mobile operators continuing to expand LTE coverage across all regions, operators such as SK Telecom and LG U+ in South Korea are increasing the level of competition.

In a bid to lock down the most lucrative LTE customers, both operators will be launching unlimited LTE data plans in 4Q 2014 featuring speeds of 300 Mbps through a three-band carrier aggregation.

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