Ever spotted that 4G+ icon appearing on the top corner of your smartphone screen? That’s a sign that you are latched onto an LTE-A base station, and is an indication that you can soon experience super-fast speeds that can reach up to 100 Mbps.
These LTE-A base stations have now been deployed in Metro Manila, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao as part of PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc.’s ongoing network modernization program, which aims to blanket the country with LTE by end-2018.
This means that Smart subscribers with LTE-A-capable phones and LTE SIMs can access speeds of almost 100 Mbps. With speeds like these, users can quickly download big attachments like high-resolution photos, PowerPoints and PDFs, stream movies without buffering and play online games without lag.
LTE-A-capable smartphones include the iPhone 6S, 6S Plus, 7 and 7 Plus, and Samsung Galaxy S5, S6 and S7, among others.
“We continue to set the bar higher for our mobile service experience with our LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) service, which is the next stage of development for 4G/LTE,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT and Smart chief technology and information advisor.
“Now is the right time to take advantage of LTE-A, because there are already handsets available in the market,” Horn said.
With the rise of bandwidth-heavy services like video streaming and gaming, Smart began in April last year the rollout of the country’s first LTE-A service in Boracay, using a capability called “Carrier Aggregation.”
“Carrier Aggregation” refers to the capability of LTE-A to combine two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and much faster data speeds to mobile users.
Part of bigger efforts to improve service
“The current LTE rollout is just part of a broader effort to improve the overall quality of service available to our subscribers,” said Horn. “LTE, which provides the best mobile data experience to subscribers, can be easily upgraded to LTE-A, and lays the foundation for the coming of 5G in 2020,” he added.
“We are currently improving coverage in Metro Manila. Once these ongoing network activities are done, our subscribers will enjoy better indoor LTE and 3G data signal, as well as better indoor 3G and 2G voice signal,” he said.
“With these improvements, our subscribers can live their digital lifestyles to the fullest, using Smart’s newest and fastest network, and be there like never before,” Horn added.
Smart is targeting to expand the number of municipalities with LTE coverage to 785 by the end of this year, nearly half of the three-year target of 1,551 municipalities by the end of 2018.
“We are asking for people’s patience and understanding as we are upgrading our network facilities. We assure you that we are taking steps to minimize the impact of these activities on our subscribers. In the end, our commitment to all our subscribers is that they will enjoy progressively better mobile data services in the next few months, particularly for those using LTE devices,” said Horn.
The backbone of the PLDT group’s digital pivot, this comprehensive network modernization and expansion program features re-equipping cell sites to provide better indoor coverage and increase the capacity of each Smart cell site to handle more calls, texts, and ever-increasing mobile data traffic.