Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has expanded its nationwide 5G network to 6,400 base stations, surpassing its initial target of 3,800 for 2021.
This puts Smart’s total base stations as of end-September to 72,600, enabling Smart to cover 96% of the population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.
“Off the back of the huge number of 5G base stations that we built this year will be a very targeted rollout of 5G in 2022,” Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT Inc and Smart Communications President and CEO disclosed Nov. 10, 2021.
“We will be more granular next year, doubling down to ensure that our efforts match the demand and the availability of handsets in the market,” he added.
This third quarter, Smart fired up 5G in more areas , such as Laoag City in Ilocos Norte, Amadeo in Cavite, Himamaylan City in Negros Occidental and Valencia City in Bukidnon.
The expanded network supports the growth of data traffic on Smart’s 5G network, which more than doubled in the third quarter–up 116% from the second quarter of 2021.
In the third quarter alone, average data traffic per month increased by nearly 20x versus the fourth quarter of 2020.
Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis, has recognized Smart as the Philippines’ fastest and most reliable 5G network for Q1-Q2 2021, with median download and upload speeds that are twice faster than its closest rival.
Ookla has also cited Smart as the fastest mobile data network in the Philippines for the fourth consecutive year.
Recently, Smart also notched wins in all seven categories of the first 5G Experience Report for the Philippines by independent mobile analytics firm Opensignal, including wins in 5G Availability, 5G Download Speed, 5G Upload Speed, 5G Video Experience, and 5G Games Experience.
Supporting Smart’s 5G network is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure of about 615,000 kilometers as of the end of September.