Smart steps up LTE-Advanced, carrier aggregation roll-out

Published March 15, 2018, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is accelerating the deployment of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and carrier aggregation technology to more areas this year to provide better mobile data experience to customers.

Carrier Aggregation (CA) is a feature of LTE-A which enables the combination of two or more radio frequency bands in order to deliver bigger bandwidth and much faster data speeds to mobile phone users. 2-Component Carrier (2CC) carrier aggregation features the combination of two frequencies, while 3CC involves the combination of three frequencies and 4CC combines four bands.

“The more widespread deployment of LTE-Advanced with carrier aggregation is the cutting edge of our broader effort to deliver world-class internet service to our customers,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering. “Our ramped-up rollout of LTE-A is boosting Smart mobile data speeds in more areas of the country.”

Smart has already fired up 3CC CA sites in cities across Metro Manila, as well as in major cities in other regions of the country.

These include cities like Baguio City in Benguet; Santa Rosa, Calamba and Biñan in Laguna; the cities of Iloilo, Bacolod, Tagbilaran and Ormoc in the Visayas; and the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Dipolog, and Zamboanga in Mindanao, to name a few.

“We plan to roll out more sites with carrier aggregation capability in more areas across the country this year. In Metro Manila, we are deploying 4CC starting with Marikina and Quezon City,” Tamayo added.

In Marikina City, for example, customers with 4CC CA-capable devices like the Samsung Galaxy S8 have reported enjoying data download speeds of over 200 Mbps. 4CC aggregation will be rolled out in more areas where there is a concentration of capable devices.

In 2018, Smart is doubling the number of LTE base stations to about 17,700 and raising the number of LTE-equipped cell sites to more than 6,800 this year.

Smart is also upping the ante by deploying another LTE-A based technology called 4×4 Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO), which raises the radio frequency efficiency by using multiple antennas for sending and receiving data, Tamayo said.

“With a fast LTE network and the right devices, we are bringing a better network experience to our customers across the country, which they can use to watch movies on their smartphones, update their social media on the go, and stay in touch with their loved ones,” he added.

This comes as Smart launched its new data-packed postpaid plans called GigaX plans, which offer 10GB data allocation for video streaming on top of increased open data allocations and free LTE handsets.

“With these new data-packed plans and free handsets, we are helping our customers take full advantage of the improved Smart LTE and LTE-Advanced network that we are putting in place across the country,” said Eric R. Alberto, PLDT Group Chief Revenue Officer. “As their trusted digital partner, we are here to provide world-class connectivity to our customers who need to always be connected on-the-go, may it be for their increasingly mobile careers and businesses or for their entertainment needs.”