Visitors and residents participating in Dumaguete City’s Buglasan Festival will enjoy better mobile data experience as PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) boost connectivity in time for the city’s grandest celebration.
To date, 43% of sites across Dumaguete City are now on LTE. Apart from rolling out LTE across the city, PLDT is also providing free Wifi connection in key festival areas, such as Freedom Park and Macias Sports Complex.
“With Smart LTE now in place in Dumaguete, our customers can enjoy better mobile data experience, not only during the Buglasan Festival, but also in their everyday lives,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart SVP for Network Planning and Engineering.
He added that those in the city to celebrate Buglasan can share on-the-go their photos and videos of the festival’s highlights, such as the Buglasan Festival of Festivals showdown, the street dances, and the Festival King and Queen competition, using Smart LTE.
As with previous LTE-powered festivities and tourist spots across the country, better connectivity does not only boost the tourism industry in the area; it also helps increase the income of local businesses and entrepreneurs, because mobile data, the internet, and social media have opened them up to more opportunities.
“Better connectivity has a direct impact on the lives of the people. Improved experience also helps them connect with family and friends across the archipelago and abroad, and also aids them in accessing important online services, such as government services and online banking,” Tamayo added.
To enjoy the improved LTE network, customers are encouraged to upgrade to an LTE-capable smartphone and an LTE SIM. All Smart, TNT and Sun subscribers can check if their SIMs are LTE-ready by texting SIMCHECK to 5832 for free. They can also check if their location is LTE ready by accessing smart.com.ph/LTE.
Smart, TNT and Sun customers can also upgrade to an LTE SIM without changing their existing number by going to a nearby Smart Store or through an LTE-Ready Self-Service Upgrade SIM, which is available for P10 at Smart loading partners nationwide, with free 1GB data valid for three days upon upgrading.
Dumaguete is among the many cities in the Visayas where Smart LTE has already been rolled-out. Smart LTE has also been deployed in key cities around the Visayas, including Mactan City in Cebu, Kalibo in Aklan, Tagbilaran City in Bohol, Roxas City in Capiz, Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte, Jordan in Guimaras, Catbalogan City in Samar and Maasin City in Southern Leyte, to name a few.
“Our ramped-up roll-out in Dumaguete and the rest of the Visayas is part of Smart’s commitment to deliver world-class internet service to more Filipinos across the country,” Tamayo said.
Smart is accelerating its deployment of LTE, LTE-A and carrier aggregation across the country as part of Smart’s efforts to improve mobile data experience nationwide.
Carrier aggregation (CA) is a feature of LTE-A which enables the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver much faster data speeds to mobile phone users. 2-Component Carrier (2CC) carrier aggregation features the combination of two frequencies, while 3CC involves three frequencies and 4CC, four bands.
As of end-June, Smart has equipped over 3,900 base stations across the country with LTE, not only to expand LTE coverage but also to lay the ground for LTE-A, which can provide even greater capacity and speeds to users with LTE-compatible smartphones. This puts the total count of LTE base stations at over 12,600.
Underpinning PLDT’s integrated fixed and mobile network roll-out was the expansion of PLDT’s fiber optic transmission and distribution network. PLDT’s 204,000-kilometer fiber network, the most extensive in the country, also supports its mobile network by providing high-capacity fiber connections for LTE base stations.
As a result of integrated network transformation efforts, PLDT and Smart were also recently cited for being the country’s fastest fixed and mobile networks for Q1-Q2 2018, respectively, by Ookla®, the global leader in internet testing and analysis.
Ookla said Smart achieved a Speed Score TM of 14.98, with average download speeds of 17.25 Mbps and average upload speeds of 7.65 Mbps, based on 2,118,464 user-initiated tests taken with Speedtest® on LTE-capable devices in the Philippines for Q1-Q2.
On the other hand, PLDT achieved a Speed Score TM of 17.31, with average download speeds of 22.84 Mbps and average upload speeds of 23.45 Mbps. The fixed network award is based on 29,076,090 user-initiated Speedtest nationwide for the same period.
Smart also continues to lead in terms of LTE download speeds according to the latest Mobile Networks Update by independent mobile analytics firm OpenSignal. The report, which covered the months of May to July this year, showed Smart LTE download speeds nationwide at 13.09 Mbps (vs 7.34 Mbps). It also led across all areas, including in Mindanao, where it posted an average download speed of 12.23 Mbps.
Smart is on track to fulfilling its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover 90% of the country’s cities and municipalities with 3G/LTE coverage by the end of this year.
PLDT has committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation which is estimated to amount to US$ 5 billion from 2016 to 2020, with capital expenditures expected to reach P58 billion this year.