More customers of PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are using Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A)-capable devices to connect to its mobile network, following its ramped-up network rollout across the country.
The number of LTE-capable devices on Smart’s network grew by 78 percent year-on-year. These include those that support at least one of Smart’s LTE frequencies. Of these LTE-capable devices, about one in every five is an LTE-A-capable device. The number of LTE-A devices on Smart’s network also grew by 72 percent, compared to the first quarter of last year. These include devices capable of two-component (2CC) up to five-component (5CC) carrier aggregation.
SMART has partnered with popular smartphone manufacturers in getting more affordable LTE-capable handsets out in the market, like the Samsung J2 Core, OPPO A37 and Starmobile Play Click, which are available with Smart. Also available with the data-packed Smart Giga X plans are the Samsung Galaxy Note9, Huawei Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, and the latest iPhone XS and XS Max, which are all LTE-A capable devices.
LTE is the best technology for mobile data. It is easily upgradable to LTE-A, which delivers even better mobile data experience through carrier aggregation. A key feature of LTE-A, carrier aggregation (CA) allows the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver much faster data speeds to mobile phone users. For example, 2CC features the combination of two frequencies, while 5CC involves the combination of five bands.
Aside from carrier aggregation, SMART has also activated 4×4 Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) and 256 Quadrature Amplitude Modulation (QAM) technologies, which boost speeds by allowing more data to be carried across the network through more efficient use of spectrum.
4×4 MIMO, which has been deployed in all Metro Manila cities, also enables capable smartphones to latch on to stronger, clearer signal where available. Smart has also deployed Massive MIMO in very high data traffic locations within Metro Manila, such as Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Pasig, and Taguig, among others.
To date, SMART has also already fulfilled its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover at least 90 percent of cities and municipalities to address the growing demand for broadband infrastructure and internet access within three years from the grant of the use of frequencies by the NTC in 2016.
In the first nine months of 2018, Smart increased its total LTE base station count across the country by 65%. These LTE base stations are, in turn, supported by PLDT’s fiber optic transmission and distribution network, the country’s most extensive fiber network at 221,000 kilometers, which provides high-capacity fiber connections for SMART’s mobile network.