SMART rolling out LTE and HSPA+, the 4G wars has officially begun


Craving crazy fast mobile internet? Then SMART might have something for you. In a press release sent to us, SMART is has announced that they’re officially rolling out Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Metro Manila, with other municipalities and areas following shortly. The tech made its debut in the white sands of Boracay last month, and from the reports we’ve heard, the speeds users received was pretty darn impressive. SMART says users will be able to experience speeds up to 50 – 70 megabits per second.

Aside from rolling out LTE, SMART is also beefing up its existing 3G network by upgrading more base stations with High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+), allowing existing 3G networks to achieve speeds of up to 27.8 mbps. Check below for the release.

Wireless leader Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) has announced that its fourth-generation (4G) network will soon make its way out of the white sand beaches of Boracay and into the concrete pavements of major urban centers around the country.

According to Smart Head for IT and Network Systems Rolando G. Peña, Long Term Evolution (LTE) will be made available in Metro Manila by the end of May with Cebu, Davao, and other major Philippine cities and municipalities following shortly.

“We are excited to see how people will take to LTE in a real world setting.” Peña said. “Deploying the technology in areas where Filipinos live and work is a great way to see just how LTE will affect their lives.”

Ready for the future

First introduced in the midst of the hustle and bustle of summer, in the hottest vacation destination in the country that is Boracay, LTE is the next step in wireless data technology. It is by far, the most advanced means of meeting and exceeding the demands of a content-hungry subscriber base as proven by its rollout in Japan (NTT DoCoMo) and in Europe (TeliaSonera).

“Being able to just call and text no longer cuts it in this new age of mobile telephony” Peña said. “Data access and Internet connectivity have become just as essential and it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.”

With LTE, Smart subscribers will experience blazing fast download speeds of 50 – 70 megabits per second—allowing them to benefit from the wonders of the web faster than ever before. Tasks that once required long wait times such as downloading applications, watching high definition videos or accessing large documents will now take no more than mere seconds with the power of the new network.

The developments however, do not stop there as Smart has already announced that they are ready to increase LTE’s throughput to up to 100mbps as soon as the market demands for it. This, as defined by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), makes Smart’s LTE network a genuine 4G infrastructure as it exceeds the minimum required speed (100mbps) for high mobility connections.

Getting more out of 3G with HSPA+

As part of its continuing commitment to 3G, Smart is also enhancing its existing network by simultaneously upgrading more base stations with High Speed Packet Access Plus (HSPA+) technology.

“We have been testing HSPA+ technology since 2009 and we feel that it is an opportune time to expand 3G’s capabilities to better complement LTE” Peña said. “We are looking to have HSPA+ connectivity in 30 cities and municipalities around the country by the end of this month.”

Although not as advanced as LTE, HSPA+ improves on the existing 3G network by making it capable of download speeds of up to 27.8mbps.

“Smart is always ready to take on the latest technologies” Peña said. “We were the first in the country with 3G, we are the first in the country with 4G, and we will continue to be the first in many more endeavors in the years to come.”

Extensive fiber optic network

Equally important as the wireless connections however, are the Fiber Optic Cables (FOCs) that connect base stations to the core network.  To date, Smart and its parent company, PLDT, boast of a comprehensive loop of over 42,000 kilometers of fiber optic cabling nationwide.

By year-end, the combined network of Smart and PLDT is expected to have an additional 3,000 kilometers of FOCs, giving its HSPA+ and LTE services unparalleled resiliency and stability.