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Smart To Cover 95 Percent Of Cities In The Philippines With LTE Connectivity By The End Of 2018!

Better, faster, and more reliable internet is coming! Smart Communications has announced announced that Telcos complied with NTC's order to deploy LTE (Long-Term Evolution) internet service in nearly all cities and municipalities in the Philippines.
Smart To Cover 95 Percent Of Cities In The Philippines With LTE Connectivity By The End Of 2018!
Smart LTE in 95% of cities by end of 2018!

Based on a the 3-year network rollout plan to nearly fully utilize the 700 MHz and other frequencies submitted by PLDT / Smart to NTC (National Telecommunications Commission), we'll be able to have LTE coverage in most cities across the country.
PLDT, Smart submit 3-year network rollout planto NTC.
PLDT, Smart submit 3-year network rollout planto NTC.
In photo, PLDT Regulatory Head Ray Espinosa (6th from left) and PLDT-Smart Chief Technology and Information Advisor Joachim Horn (2nd from left) present copies of the plan to NTC Commissioner Gamaliel Cordoba (3rd from left). Also in photo are (from left): Smart Network Services Head Mar Tamayo, NTC Deputy Commissioners Delilah Deles and Edgardo Cabarios, Smart Legal and Regulatory Head Eric Español, PLDT's Fred Carrera, Smart's Roy Ibay, and PLDT Public Affairs Group Head Ramon Isberto.

According tot he plan, Smart is rapidly expanding both the coverage and capacity of its LTE service by using its existing frequencies combined with the newly acquired 700 MHz spectrum from San Miguel Corporation. The 3-year rollout plan was one of the conditions imposed by the NTC in approving the frequency with co-use arrangement between Smart and BellTel.

“We are accelerating our LTE deployment because this will enable us to deliver faster, more reliable and affordable Internet services throughout the country,” according to Joachim Horn, chief technology and information advisor at PLDT and Smart.

As a matter of fact, Smart is already started firing up the 700 MHz frequencies. In addition to that, Smart is currently deploying the 700 MHz to roll out LTE in 360 cell sites in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu, and Metro Davao. By the end of 2016, Smart will cover nearly 40% of the country’s 1,634 cities and municipalities already.

To complete the project, Smart will deploy LTE to other key cities and major municipalities by 2017, and cover the rest of the 1,551 cities and municipalities by the end of 2018!

“Since its commercial launch in 2012, we have been deploying LTE in areas with high population concentration, where we have customers who have already purchased 4G/LTE handsets that can take advantage of the network and are using bandwidth-rich data services,” added Horn. “A critical component of this LTE rollout is the infrastructure that will support the increasingly large transport requirements of a network handling so much data traffic,” said Horn. 

A part of that plan is the deployment of the LTE-A (LTE-Advanced) or 4.5G. It combines two or more frequency bands to deliver bigger bandwidth and even more speed to mobile phone users.

Complementing the LTE network deployment, Horn said Smart is also working with device manufacturers so that they can introduce more medium to low-priced 4G or LTE handsets, tablets, and pocket WiFis that can run on multiple frequencies, to give more users access to the data network.

As a refresher, LTE (4G) is a next gen mobile phone technology that delivers up to 10 times faster data service experience against the regular 3G speed.

“This is part of getting our network ready for the future, by putting in place the pipes that will accommodate the expected surge in data usage, and allow users to take advantage of speeds offered by next generation technologies such as LTE-A, and eventually 5G,” Horn added.

All of the above-mentioned plans and reforms is a part of PLDT Group's capital expenditure program, this 2016 the company has set aside about PHP 43 billion in total capex and has allocated an additional USD 100 million to maximize all the frequencies that came from SMC group.

Now all we need to do is to be patient and hope that this 3-year plan will be successful. Exciting times right?
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