200MBPS IN DAVAO | Smart tests LTE-Advanced system down south

Smart and PLDT Technology Group Head Roland Peña (center) holds up a laptop that reached 210.85 Mbps in download speeds as the telecom firm tests its LTE-Advanced network during the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City recently. Photo courtesy of Smart Communications Inc's official Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines — Fresh from the completion of its LTE rollout to all segments of its subscriber base, dominant telecom player Smart Communications revealed recently that it has attained double the speeds provided by current LTE networks thanks to a new technology called LTE-Advanced.

In a test run during the Kadayawan Festival in Davao City last week, engineers from Smart confirmed reaching more than 200 Mbps of download speeds as it tests out new LTE-Advanced equipment acquired from Chinese telecom equipment provider Huawei.

LTE-Advanced is the next step in the evolution of 3G mobile networks, succeeding the LTE (Long-Term Evolution) standard, which can already reach up to 100 Mbps in download speeds. Smart said LTE-Advanced, though currently reaching 200 Mbps speeds, can go up to as high as 700 Mbps in theoretical speeds.

Aside from Davao, the telco had already tested speeds of the new network in Metro Manila, yielding about the same download rates as in Davao.

“LTE Advanced is the next step forward for mobile broadband, and we look forward to many new possible applications of this ultra-fast technology that will benefit Filipinos and keep the Philippines abreast with the most technologically advanced countries in the world,” said Smart co-founder and Chief Wireless Advisor Orlando B. Vea.

Roland Peña, PLDT and Smart Technology Group Head, said the successful testing of the new network technology “demonstrate the readiness of the Smart network infrastructure to meet the demands of technologies that go beyond LTE.”

Vea, on the other hand, noted how they foresee the “rapid acceptance of LTE-Advanced once all the right elements are in place,” as it is expected to help bring down the cost of network equipment and devices in the next few years.

“The good news is we have transformed our network in the past two years. LTE Advanced will work hand-in-glove with our extensive and robust fiber-powered network which, as we speak, we continue to expand and strengthen,” Peña added.

Though it is already undergoing testing, Smart did not reveal when they plan to deploy LTE-Advanced commercially.

Currently, the telco’s LTE service is available via broadband sticks, pocket WiFi devices, tablets and smartphones both on prepaid and postpaid basis. The service is available in more than a thousand sites across the country, serving over 180 cities and municipalities in the Philippines.

Smart’s expanded LTE coverage is also supported by over 71,000 kilometers of total fiber footprint, inclusive of 7,200 kilometers of international submarine fiber, and over 4,000 kilometers of domestic submarine fiber–the most extensive fiber network in the country.