Mobile technology is the primary source of Internet access for the vast majority of developing countries around the world. And as more affordable smartphones enter the marketplace, the combination with broadband wireless is providing new streams of revenue for telecom operators. For the people in these developing countries, it means they will be able to access next generation communications services just as everywhere else.
In the Philippines, the commitment by its leading telecom operator, PLDT (News - Alert), and its wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications, to accelerate Long Term Evolution (LTE) deployment to users in 1,551 cities and municipalities across the country by the end of 2018 just got great news. The company announced the coverage will reach 785 municipalities by the end of 2017, which is a little more than half of its goal.
Smart Communications and its parent company PLDT pledged to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) that they will be covering the country with LTE (News - Alert) deployment to provide next generation communications. With 785 municipalities slated to be covered by the end of 2017, the remaining 766 should also have LTE networks by the end of 2018 if all goes as planned. According to the company, this is part of a three-year network roll-out plan PLDT submitted to NTC in 2016.
A total of 5,733 sites will be targeted by Smart, with 2,165 sites with LTE in low spectrum bands and 3,568 sites in high spectrum bands. High-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz will also be deployed to increase smart cell site capacity so they can handle more traffic.
“The roll out of our LTE network is strategic not only because it gives an immediate boost to internet speeds and reliability, but also because this lays the foundation for further improvements. As more LTE-A capable handsets become available, we can turn on the carrier aggregation feature of LTE and quickly raise internet speeds even more. We are also conducting our LTE roll out in ways that prepare us for the arrival of 5G, which is just three years away,” said Joachim Horn, Chief Technology and Information Advisor of PLDT and Smart.
This rollout is part of Smart's network improvement of 4G and 3G coverage using low-band frequencies, which are now responsible for improved mobile Internet user experiences across several cities in the Philippines. In some of the metropolitan cities, average LTE download speeds of 20 Mbps and average 3G download rates of 6 Mbps have been recorded. This will give Smart the ability to deliver next generation communications solutions for its millions of customers in those areas where the networks have been upgraded.
The next step is making LTE-capable handsets more affordable for the users in the Philippines, so Smart Communications can fully leverage all of the monetization possibilities of LTE networks.
Edited by Alicia Young