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PLDT, Smart to roll out LTE on 700 MHz frequency
Shared/Posted: Jun 09, 2016 at 12:21pm
MANILA, Philippines – Smart Communications has announced that it will start using the 700 MHz frequency this year.
According to PLDT and Smart Chief Technology and Information Advisor Joachim Horn, Smart’s strategy has two legs.
“First is the network. Deploying LTE on 700 MHz combines a powerful frequency with the most advanced mobile phone technology… Second are the devices. We have been holding discussions with device manufacturers so that more affordable LTE smartphones and tablets using 700 MHz will soon be available in the country, ” he explained in a statement.
The low-band 700 MHz has a longer range and provides better indoor coverage than high-band frequencies. Smart gained access to this and other additional frequencies when Smart’s parent company, PLDT, recently acquired 50 percent of the telecoms business of San Miguel Corporation.
LTE is the fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone technology that currently provides the fastest wireless data service commercially available.
According to Smart, about 45 percent of Smart and Sun subscribers are now using smartphones, up from only 30 percent last year. The majority of these are 3G/HSPA handsets, but the number of LTE handsets is rising fast as the range of available models increases and the handset prices decline.
Globally, according to UK-based global analyst company CCS Insight, LTE devices shipped rose from 443 million in 2014 to 900 million in 2015. This year, LTE-capable devices are expected to account for half of all smartphone shipments worldwide, further rising up to about three quarters of the global market by 2020.
Smart is currently in the mide of a three-year network improvement program that includes a number of simultaneous initiatives. One activity aims to synergize the mobile phone networks of Smart and Sun and another seeks to expand the roll out of Smart’s 3G and 4G services.
In yet another activity, Smart has introduced to the country LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), also referred to as 4.5G. Smart fired up its 4.5G service in Boracay last April.
Smart’s drive to boost data coverage and capacity across the country forms a major part of the PLDT Group’s capital expenditure program. PLDT has set aside about P43 billion in total capex for 2016. It has allocated an additional US100 million to utilize the additional frequencies now available to Smart as a result of the recent acquisition of San Miguel telecom business.
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