Smart Communications set for the commercial launch of its LTE network in the Philippines on August 25.
“This is Philippines’ first and only LTE service and it’s running on Smart’s ‘super-charged’ mobile network,” said Orlando B. Vea, Smart chief wireless adviser.
Vea said Smart’s LTE service is capable of delivering data wirelessly at speeds of up to 42 Mbps.
Smart’s LTE deployment is part of the PLDT Group’s 67.1 billion peso ($1.58 billion) network technology refresh program, which replaced the base station equipment in Smart’s more than 9,500 base stations nationwide with 4G-ready facilities.
This program has also strengthened the PLDT Group’s fiber optic networks and overseas fiber optic cable systems to ensure that high-speed broadband services offered via LTE will be fully supported.
“This enables us to quickly and easily expand our LTE network depending on market demand,” Vea said.
Several LTE sites in the capital region of Metro Manila, Cebu in central Philippines, Davao in the south, and tourist magnet Boracay Island, have already been active in the past few months. Smart LTE has also undergone road tests at big events such as the Sinulog Festival in Cebu and the Kadayawan Festival in Davao, by streaming video online in full high definition.
Dirk Wolter, Cisco Systems’ CTO for mobility in Asia Pacific, said that the LTE rollout in the Philippines would also play a key role in making available internet even to the remotest parts of the country.
Wolter pointed out that mobile broadband is important in the Philippines because most consumers use their mobile devices to connect to the internet, unlike in Western Europe or the US where people have PCs at home and they have a fiber broadband on subscription.
“Here in the Philippines, broadband internet penetration is much lower and LTE will help bridge that gap between the very high mobile phone penetration and the very low broadband penetration,” Wolter said.