Smart Communications claims lead in 4G coverage

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Smart Communications, a unit of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., claimed a lead in terms of high-speed Internet or 4G coverage, a statement on Wednesday showed.

Smart said it currently has 10,000 cell sites that offer its 4G service, meaning it covers 85 percent of the country’s population, or 78.4 million people. Its services include Long Term Evolution (LTE), said to be the fastest commercially available mobile Internet service globally.

“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,” Rolando Peña, head of Technology of Smart and PLDT, said in the statement.

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.

Smart said it had been expanding its LTE coverage, which now reaches the key urban areas of the country where demand for this high-speed service is increasing.

Moreover, anticipating Filipinos’ rising appetite for even faster broadband services, Smart has already commenced tests of LTE-Advanced, which can offer data rates of 100 to 400 Mbps.

Aside from 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 supposedly four times more expansive and more powerful than competitors’.

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

In terms of broadband services nationwide, the company corners 63.8 percent of the market or a combined subscriber base of 3.3 million within the same period.

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

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