Smart sets network expansion in Metro Manila
PLDT Inc.’s Smart Communications announced a major network expansion in Metro Manila in a bid to improve services—with special focus on high-speed mobile internet.
Smart said the rollout over the next three months would significantly boost its LTE and 3G mobile data services across all 17 of the cities and municipalities of Metro Manila.
“Smart is rolling out the fastest and most powerful mobile data network in the country and we are focused on improving indoor coverage since we know that people use mobile internet services mostly indoors, particularly in Metro Manila—in their homes, offices, restaurants, coffee shops and the like,” Joachim Horn, chief technology and information adviser for PLDT and Smart, said in a statement.
Horn said Smart would be deploying new base station equipment in about 2,500 cell sites across Metro Manila that use low-frequency bands such as 700 MHz, 850 MHz and 900 MHz .
PLDT gained access to the 700 MHz last year after sealing an agreement with Globe to buy San Miguel Corp.’s telco unit. The low frequency bands are prized for their ability to deliver internet coverage across wide areas—as well as better indoor penetration—in a more efficient manner.
Smart added that the rollout included deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz. This will increase the capacity of each Smart cell site to handle more calls, texts and ever-increasing mobile data traffic.
Smart has been losing mobile subscribers to main rival Globe since 2013, PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said last year. He said in a more recent interview last week that Globe likely ended 2016 with more subscribers than Smart.
Smart said it was working closely with leading phone manufacturers to bring more affordable LTE handsets to the Philippine market.
“LTE provides us the right platform to bring high-speed mobile internet throughout the country. LTE facilities, with strengthened transport links, can be quickly upgraded to LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), which can provide greater capacity and faster data speeds,” added Horn.
Smart started the network overhaul program in Boracay and Metro Davao in the early part of 2016.
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