Smart deploys 10,000 4G-capable cell sites

December 18, 2013 10:45 AM

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By: Darwin G. Amojelar, December 18, 2013 6:31 PM

MANILA - Smart Communications Inc on Wednesday said it has deployed more than 10,000 cell sites that offer fourth-generation (4G) technologies, including long-term evolution (LTE) for fast broadband internet services.

In a statement, the country's largest mobile phone provider said its 4G infrastructure is almost twice the size of its closest competitor and covers 85 percent of the country’s population, or around 78.4 million Filipinos.

“With its decisive 4G supremacy, Smart has become the benchmark of wireless services in the country, enabling Filipinos to experience global standards in mobile communications that is both fast and reliable,” said Rolando Peña, head of Technology of Smart and Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co (PLDT).

4G broadly refers to technologies that provide high-speed data transmission that is up to 20 times faster than 3G connections.

With such rapid data rates, users are able to stream high definition (HD) videos, download large files or upload photos and videos on their mobile devices without lag or delay.

The fastest service is LTE, which Smart pioneered in the Philippines in August 2012 and is capable of delivering data rates of up to 42 megabytes per second (Mbps). Since then, Smart’s LTE coverage has expanded to reach the key urban areas of the country where demand for this high-speed service is increasing.

Smart has already commenced tests of LTE-Advanced, which can offer data rates of 100-400 Mbps.

Besides LTE, Smart also offers HSPA+ and WiMax as part of its suite of 4G technologies. Smart's expanded 4G coverage is backed by its fiber optic cable connection that is four times more expansive and more powerful than its main rival.

“Smart aims to capitalize on this lead in 4G footprint and invest more on its wireless network as it anticipates an explosive growth in data traffic,” Peña said.

Citing a Cisco Global Mobile Data Traffic Forecast early this year, Peña said 4G connections around the world are expected to generate eight times more traffic than non-4G links by 2017.

The same study draws attention to the Asia Pacific region, which is projected to have among the strongest annual mobile data growth rates of 76 percent within the next four years, or close to a seventeen-fold increase over the forecast period.

As of September, the PLDT group’s cellular subscriber base stood at 72.5 million, consisting of 31.9 million Talk ‘N Text users, 24.7 million Smart subscribers and 15.8 million Sun Cellular subscribers.

The PLDT group also leads in delivering broadband services nationwide, cornering 63.8 percent of the market share or a combined subscriber base of 3.3 million within the same period.

The figure consists of the wireless broadband subscribers of Smart Broadband at 1.8 million, Sun Cellular's 500,000, as well as the 950,000 fixed broadband users of PLDT. The group also posted a revenue share of 67.5 percent in this category.

“Our continuous expansion future-proofs our network and prepares us for the expected surge in demand for broadband-heavy applications. But at the core of our leadership is our clear commitment to offer the capability and speed that our subscribers require,” Peña said. is the online news portal of TV5, a member of the PLDT group.


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