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Smart bares early results of beefing up 4G network in Rizal

/ 06:01 PM February 23, 2017

Smart Communications, the flagship mobile unit of PLDT Inc., announced early results in its plan to boost mobile internet quality in Metro Manila and nearby areas, a statement from the company showed Thursday.

Citing internal tests for the first two weeks of Feb. 2017, Smart said the average download speed “in a large portion of Rizal” jumped 455 percent to 23.3 megabits per second (Mpbs) while the average download speed of its 3G service rose by 37 percent to 3.7 Mbps.

This was after the company beefed up its 4G network in the area, partly by deploying LTE frequencies it gained access to after buying half of San Miguel Corp.’s telco assets last year. The other half was acquired by PLDT’s main rival, Globe Telecom.

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Smart said subscriber data usage also rose in Rizal, a province located east of Metro Manila. Network monitoring showed that data usage on LTE doubled during this period, while data usage on 3G has increased by 22 percent, it said in the statement.

“The Rizal results are very promising since they indicate what Smart is looking to achieve for Metro Manila—where we will make mobile data on LTE and 3G as pervasive as possible, providing fast speeds and great quality to all Smart mobile data users,” Joachim Horn, chief technology and information advisor for PLDT and Smart, said in the statement.

In the densely populated areas of Antipolo City and the municipality of Tanay, and along major thoroughfares in the province like Marcos Highway, for example, initial tests showed that Smart users “are already experiencing improvements in the quality of their mobile internet experience.”

According to Horn, “these are early results of the rollout, and Smart is still in the process of equipping more base stations in Rizal that use low-frequency bands, to improve the coverage of both LTE and 3G.”

Smart recently announced a major network expansion over the first quarter of 2017 to quadruple its indoor LTE coverage and double its indoor 3G coverage across all 17 cities of Metro Manila, the country’s capital and also the most densely populated area.

To achieve this, Smart is deploying new base station equipment in about 2,500 cell sites across Metro Manila, that use low-frequency bands such as 700 megahertz (MHz), 850 MHz, and 900 MHz for its LTE and 3G services, since these frequency bands “cover a larger area and provide better indoor signals.”

The rollout also includes deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz, to increase the capacity of each Smart cell site to handle more calls, texts, and ever-increasing mobile data traffic.

According to Horn, Smart started this network overhaul program in Boracay and Metro Davao in the early part of 2016, where subscribers have already reported significant improvements in the coverage and quality of Smart’s mobile data service, particularly for LTE. Activities for both Metro Cebu and Metro Manila are ongoing. RAM

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TAGS: Internet, Metro Manila, Mobile, PLDT Inc., Smart Communications
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