PLDT mobile unit accelerates 4G LTE rollout across PH
Smart Communications, the mobile unit of PLDT Inc., said it would accelerate the rollout of 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) across the country.
In a statement, the company said the rollout plan for high-speed mobile internet now included 785 municipalities by the end of 2017, about half the target indicated in the three-year plan it had submitted to the National Telecommunications Commission late last year.
Under the plan, Smart will make LTE “progressively available to users in 1,551 cities and municipalities across the country” by the end of 2018.
This year included 2,165 sites with LTE in low spectrum bands and 3,568 sites in high spectrum bands, Joachim Horn, chief technology and information adviser for PLDT and Smart, said in a statement.
“We will also continue to invest in our 2G and 3G networks to meet customer demand and ensure best customer experience,” he added.
The rollout plan involved re-equipping cell sites to use low-frequency bands such as 700 megahertz (MHz) and 850 MHz to improve LTE services. Low frequency bands travel farther than those in a higher frequency, and provide better indoor coverage.
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.
PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan announced a P46-billion capital expenditure plan for this year, with a significant portion going toward improvements in its data network.
“We are improving customer experience through better network services and by offering progressively more relevant and targeted products and services,” Pangilinan said in the statement.
Last year, Smart completed the rollout of the enhanced 4G and 3G coverage using low-band frequencies in Boracay and Metro Davao, where users were now reporting improved mobile internet experience.
Initial results are also beginning to show in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, where network upgrades are still ongoing and are expected to be finished in the following months, Smart said.
“The rollout of our LTE network is strategic not only because it gives an immediate boost to internet speeds and reliability, but also because this lays the foundation for further improvements,” said Horn.
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