PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications (Smart) has fired up four more LTE (Long-Term Evolution) cell sites using the 700-megahertz (MHz) spectrum in line with its stepped-up efforts to expand its LTE service to deliver high-speed mobile data.
The four Smart cell sites fired up with 700 MHz are located in various parts of Davao City, specifically in Barangay Ma-a near DBP Village, along San Pedro Street near Osmeña Park, at the PLDT building along Ponciano Reyes St., and at Kilometer 4, near the Davao City Golf Club.
“We are fulfilling our commitment, that we would use the 700 MHz frequency, along with other frequencies, as part of the accelerated deployment of our LTE service. This will help us more quickly deliver faster, more reliable and affordable Internet services throughout the Philippines,” according to Joachim Horn, PLDT and Smart chief technology and information advisor.
The low-band 700 MHz has a longer range and provides better indoor coverage than high band frequencies. Smart gained access to this and other additional frequencies when Smart’s parent company PLDT acquired 50% of the telecoms business of San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
According to Horn, Smart is deploying LTE on 700 MHz in order to combine the powerful frequency with the most advanced mobile phone technology. LTE is the fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone technology that currently provides the fastest wireless data service commercially available.
The four Davao cell sites bring to eight the number of Smart’s 700 MHz-powered sites so far. The first batch are in Tanay, Rizal; Matina, Davao City; Bacoor, Cavite; and Manggahan area in Pasig City, where peak download speeds of about 100 Mbps were attained on a single-band, 700-MHz LTE set-up.
In three of the eight sites, Smart used the Carrier Aggregation capability of LTE Advanced (LTE-A) and recorded higher peak speeds.
Peak speeds refer to the maximum possible data rate that may be achieved, on a single-user basis. The actual speeds that may be experienced under normal circumstances will be influenced by the number of users being served by a particular base station.
Smart plans to activate a total of 360 cell sites with 700 MHz this year, initially in Metro Manila, in Metro Cebu, and in Metro Davao.
The wireless leader is also working with local and foreign device manufacturers to push the availability of more affordable LTE smartphones, pocket WiFis, and tablets that can latch on to the 700 MHz frequency.
“This combination of advanced network, technology, and devices will enable us to provide the best digital experience to our customers across the country,” Horn said.
Smart’s accelerated LTE deployment is part of PLDT’s three-year network expansion program to deliver faster, more reliable, and more affordable Internet services throughout the country. The current budget for this year is P43 billion pesos, plus an additional US$100 million to utilize the additional SMC frequencies now available to Smart.