Smart Expanding Network to Improve LTE Coverage and Quality in Metro Manila
PLDT mobile unit Smart Communications is undertaking a major network expansion in Metro Manila over the next three months, to improve the coverage and quality of its LTE service. Operator is deploying new base station equipment in about 2,500 cell sites across Metro Manila, that use low-frequency bands such as 700 MHz, 850 MHz, and 900 MHz for its LTE and 3G services, since these frequency bands cover a larger area and provide better indoor signals.
Once completed, the rollout is expected to significantly boost the reach of Smart’s LTE and 3G mobile data services across all 17 of the cities and municipalities of Metro Manila. The rollout also includes deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz, to increase the capacity of each Smart cell site to handle more calls, texts, and ever-increasing mobile data traffic.
Smart started this network overhaul program in Boracay and Metro Davao in the early part of 2016, where subscribers have since reported big improvements in the quality of their LTE services. Currently ongoing in Metro Cebu, Smart intends to bring the rollout to other parts of the Philippines to significantly improve the mobile internet experience of the rest of its user base.
In the three-year network roll-out plan that parent-company PLDT submitted to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in July last year, Smart said it will make LTE progressively available to users in 1,551 cities and municipalities across the country by end-2018.
The plan includes the use of the 700 MHz frequency that Smart obtained access to under a co-use arrangement, after the acquisition of the telecoms business of San Miguel Corporation (SMC) by PLDT and Globe Telecom in May last year.
Smart also began in April last year to roll out the LTE-Advanced service, using “Carrier Aggregation.” Initially deployed in Boracay and soon in major urban areas such as Metro Davao, Metro Cebu, and Metro Manila, Smart’s LTE-A service delivers peak speeds of more than 100 Mbps to users with LTE-A capable devices.