By Tom Noda
Smart Communications announced on Thursday, Sept. 18, the massive roll-out of its new LTE (Long-Term-Evolution) network as the company stretches its LTE footprint in the country to more than 3,400 sites.
Smart technology group head Rolando Pena said they have added a total of 1,400 new LTE sites, comprising of FD-LTE and TD-LTE installations.
Pena told reporters that part of Smart’s continuing roll-out program for its LTE facilities is the deployment of new technologies such as LTE Advanced to be able to respond to the expected demand in mobile data.
Smart also said it plans to expand its mobile network infrastructure by adding 400 more mobile LTE sites, mostly in Metro Manila. And to complement its mobile LTE services, Smart is rolling out 1,000 additional TD-LTE sites to support its fixed wireless service to homes. The expansion is expected to bring high-speed mobile broadband speeds to cities and municipalities in Bulacan, Cavite, Cebu, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, and Metro Manila.
Pena said Smart’s strategy is to roll out a combination of network platforms meant to address the different needs and requirements of subscribers in different areas.
“Our mix of TD-LTE, HSPA+, and mobile LTE deployments respond to varying needs of the market, with the common goal of bringing the Internet closer to every Filipino,” Pena said.
“This is complemented by bringing high-speed Internet access to homes through Fiber-To-The-Home (FTTH) and DSL. To date, FTTH is now available in 1,463 areas or villages in 121 cities and municipalities. By year end 2014, it is expected to be available in 1,725 areas with a total capacity of 300,000 lines.”
Only recently, Smart activated its LTE Advanced network in Mactan Island, Cebu during the 10th Asian Carriers Conference where the telco recorded speeds of more than 100 Mbps using the next-generation mobile network technology.
It was the second site for Smart’s next-generation LTE Advanced network, also called “5G” in some overseas markets. The telco’s first LTE Advanced network went live at the Jump Experience Center in Mandaluyong City last August.
Pena said with PLDT Group’s roll-out of more than 90,000 kilometers of fiber-optic cables around the country, Smart was able to deploy a mix of fixed and wireless technologies and modernized its mobile network to make more than 10,000 4G-enabled sites. This enabled Smart to roll out LTE services through a simple software update.
According to Smart’s head of the wireless consumer division Charles Lim, Smart posted with the fastest mobile speeds among telcos in sample tests conducted by speed test apps Sensorly and Speedtest by Ookla in at least 500 areas nationwide.
Lim added the test results are further validated by speed tests conducted by users in more than 100 areas across the country.