Smart sees higher LTE subscriptions
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - August 25, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. said more mobile subscribers have upgraded to Long Term Evolution (LTE) and LTE-Advanced SIMs and devices amid continuous migration efforts. 

As of the first half, Smart said about 70 percent of its subscribers are already smartphone owners, most of whom are LTE phone users, and have also already adopted LTE SIMs.

“To complement our LTE network rollout, we are also working with device manufacturers to put capable handsets within the reach of our customers, who can then use them to maximize the network that we are building,” PLDT-Smart senior vice president for network planning and engineering Mario Tamayo said.

Smart has partnered with popular smartphone manufacturers in getting more LTE- and LTE-A-capable handsets out in the market.

“Aside from the network improvement, it is also important to have the right device on hand to fully experience the superior quality and full capability of our network,” Tamayo said.

A recent study by mobile analytics firm OpenSignal found that users of different smartphone brands and models experience “significant differences” in mobile network experience, depending on their smartphones’ network communication features, which enable faster download speeds and smoother video streaming.

In the Philippines, users with high-tier smartphones experienced much faster download speeds of 18.3 Mbps, compared to 10.1 Mbps for mid-tier phones, and 7.4 Mbps for low-tier phones.

High-tier smartphone users in the Philippines also experience greater download speeds that are 2.4 times better than that of mid-tier smartphone users, according to OpenSignal.

Smart said high-tier smartphones such as the iPhone XS, Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and Huawei P30 are available with its Smart Signature postpaid plans.

The rising adoption by subscribers of LTE SIMs and LTE smartphones, alongside the increasing data usage for video and games and robust subscriber growth, have boosted PLDT’s consumer wireless business revenues by 20 percent for the first half to P34.4 billion.

Of Smart’s LTE sites nationwide, 71 percent have already been upgraded to LTE-Advanced, which means each cell site has multiple LTE base stations activated. 

In the first semester alone, Smart deployed an additional 2,900 LTE base stations across its sites, raising the LTE base station count to over 19,000.

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