June 27, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Smart Communications claims ‘steady improvement’ in LTE download speeds

SMART Communications, Inc. on Friday said it posted “steady improvement” in its average download speeds through its Long Term Evolution (LTE) service, citing a recent study from J.P. Morgan.


In a statement, the wireless subsidiary of PLDT, Inc. quoted an April 2017 report by J.P. Morgan as saying it “leads overall LTE download speeds at regional levels.”

Smart said report was based on the actual mobile experience of OpenSignal app users. The app allows users to run their own speed tests. A copy of the J.P. Morgan report was not provided.

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

The wireless giant said it also led in terms of average 3G download speeds at the country level (2.22 Mbps) and in Metro Manila (3.25 Mbps). These 3G figures are also Smart’s highest in the last eight testing periods of OpenSignal.

In its three-year network rollout plan that parent company PLDT submitted to the National Telecommunications Commission in July last year, Smart said it will make LTE progressively available to 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities by the end of 2018.

“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,” PLDT Chief Technology and Information Advisor Joachim Horn was quoted in a statement as saying.

Smart said it is re-equipping its cell sites to use low-frequency bands such as 700 megahertz (MHz) and 850 MHz to provide better indoor coverage. It is also deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz to increase the cell sites’ capacity to handle mobile data traffic.

“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,” PLDT Executive Vice-President and Chief Revenue Officer Eric R. Alberto added.

Smart is also starting to lay the foundation for further service improvements, such as LTE-Advanced which can provide even faster speeds and greater capacity to subscribers and while boosting its LTE services, it continued to fortify its 3G network to better serve the majority of its smartphone-owning subscribers, who are using 3G handsets.

PLDT and Smart Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said recent efforts are meant “to transform the PLDT and Smart network into the country’s most future-ready data infrastructure delivering a wide range of gigabit digital solutions.”

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. -- Imee Charlee C. Delavin