MANILA, July 31— Smart Communications has further improved its mobile data services amid its ongoing network upgrade in Metro Manila.
In a statement, Smart Communications said recent tests conducted by the telco firm show that the average download speeds of Smart’s LTE (Long Term Evolution) is 21.5 megabits per second (Mbps) in North National Capital Region (NCR) covering Quezon City, Quezon City, Caloocan, Valenzuela, Novaliches, Malabon, Mandaluyong, San Juan, Pasig, Manila, Makati, Pasay, and Marikina.
Smart further said that an average of 14.4 Mbps was reached in South NCR areas of Muntinlupa, Las Piñas, Taguig and Parañaque.
Furthermore, LTE availability in Metro Manila has increased from 49 percent at the start of the year to 63 percent based on the latest J.P.Morgan Asia Network Quality study.
The study covering the months of April to June also found that Smart has a significant lead in LTE speeds across all areas citing crowd sourced data gathered by wireless coverage research firm OpenSignal.
Nationwide, it maintained its lead in LTE download speeds at 11 Mbps, while it also led across areas: In Metro Manila (12.9 Mbps average download speed vs competition’s 7.6 Mbps), in South Luzon (9.5 Mbps vs 6.2 Mbps), and in the Visayas (8.3 Mbps vs 6.3 Mbps).
“As the Filipino lifestyle becomes more digital, we are continuously improving our network to be there for our customers like never before. We are halfway through in North NCR, while we are close to completion in South NCR,” Mario Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering, said.
“With these upgrades and our growing array of digital services and content offers, we look forward to serving our customers better with a truly superior experience where they can access relevant content using our robust network anytime, anywhere, using a combination of LTE-ready devices, Smart LTE SIMs and Smart’s newest and fastest network. The time to shift to LTE is now,” he added.
Smart has committed to make LTE available to 95 percent of cities and municipalities nationwide by end of next year in response to the increased demand for bandwidth-heavy services such as video streaming and online gaming.
It has also rolled out its carrier-grade Smart WiFi in strategic areas such as airports and transport hubs, universities, hospitals, government offices and the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) as part of its network expansion program.
With a backhaul capacity of up to one gigabit per second, Smart Wifi can support up to 3,000 connected users with robust Wifi connectivity.
Smart is currently re-equipping its cell sites to use low-frequency bands such as 700 MHz and 850 MHz to provide better indoor coverage and is also deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz to increase the cell sites’ capacity to handle more calls, texts, and ever-increasing mobile data traffic.
This comprehensive network modernization and expansion program is at the core of the PLDT Group’s digital pivot.
Smart’s network roll- out took a big bulk of PLDT’s ramped-up capital expenditure program of PHP 42.8 billion for 2016, which included the utilization of the new frequencies freed up with the acquisition of San Miguel Corporation’s telco assets. (PNA)