July 26, 2017, 8:45 am
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Telco’s LTE fastest in PH

PLDT Inc. wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. leads in Long-Term Evolution (LTE) services in the country, with average download speeds steadily improving through the months, according to a J.P. Morgan study.

Based on the actual mobile experience of OpenSignal app users this month, J.P. Morgan said Smart “leads in overall LTE download speeds and at regional levels.” The OpenSignal app enables mobile data users to run their own speed tests.  

At the country level, Smart recorded an average LTE download speed of 10.91 megabits per second (Mbps) from December 2016 to February 2017. It averaged 11.76 Mbps in Metro Manila, 8.56 Mbps in South Luzon and 10.42 Mbps in the Visayas, during the same period.

Smart has likewise improved its average LTE speeds in all areas covered by the study. Its latest figures are its highest in the last eight testing periods of OpenSignal.

 Smart also led in terms of average 3G download speeds at the country level (2.22 Mbps) and in Metro Manila (3.25 Mbps) – its highest in the last eight testing periods.

 “We are happy to know that our subscribers are increasingly enjoying our newest and fastest LTE network. We have made intensive capital outlay to accelerate the deployment of LTE sites because LTE significantly boosts the speed, quality and reliability of our mobile data service,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT-Smart chief technology and information advisor. 
 
Smart is re-equipping its cell sites to use low-frequency bands such as 700 and 850 megahertz (MHz) to provide better indoor coverage. It is also deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 and 2100 MHz to increase the cell sites’ capacity to handle mobile data traffic.
 
PLDT and Smart have committed to make LTE progressively available to 95 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities by the end of 2018.
 
“While the J.P.Morgan study did not include Mindanao, our subscribers are already experiencing improved LTE service there, particularly in Metro Davao where we have completed our network overhaul program,” Horn said.
 
“Soon, more Filipinos from all over the country will enjoy a digital experience like never before,” said Eric Alberto, PLDT-Smart chief revenue officer. 

“Our network dominance and reliability will enable us to deliver a superior digital experience to Filipinos, whose appetite for relevant digital content is constantly growing,” Alberto added.
 
Horn said through its LTE rollout, Smart is also laying the foundation for further service improvements such as LTE-Advanced, which can provide even faster speeds and greater capacity to subscribers.
 
He noted while Smart was boosting its LTE services, it continued to fortify its 3G network to better serve majority of its smartphone-owning subscribers, who are using 3G handsets.

Smart is in the middle of a three-year program that will make LTE service available to 97 percent of the country’s population, or to users in 1,551 cities and municipalities across the country by end 2018.
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