2012 turning point for PH telcos: Smart

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Monday, January 7, 2013


THE year 2012 was a turning point for the Philippine telecommunications industry, Smart Communications, Inc. said in a press statement.

Citing several firsts that the wireless leader pioneered in the past year, Rolando Peña, network head for Smart, parent company PLDT, and subsidiaries Sun Cellular and Digitel, said 2012 was a milestone year especially in terms of introducing new network technologies.

“Many have said that 2012 was going to be the ‘doomsday year,’ but for us it was anything but the end,” said Peña. “In fact, 2012 will be remembered as the year modern mobile telecommunication was born,” he said.

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In mid-2012, Smart completed super-charging its mobile network under PLDT’s network transformation program. The P67.1 billion endeavor involved the installation and upgrading of network equipment which enabled the company to improve its existing services and to introduce new ones.

Topping the list is the introduction of the Philippines’ first commercially-available Long Term Evolution (LTE) service.

Launched in August, Smart LTE is capable of delivering speeds of up to 42Mbps through the use of a USB dongle or a Pocket WiFi device.

Less than a month later, Smart fired up LTE in multiple bands and made the Philippines’ first LTE call and SMS from Cebu City.

In December, the service was made available to Smart Gold postpaid plan subscribers.

“Compared to the LTE services of other providers, SmartLTE is not limited to just one area. Smart LTE can be enjoyed in more than 500 establishments in 10 cities across Metro Manila and in select areas in Boracay, Cebu, and Davao,” Peña said.

Pena explains that though LTE is a wireless technology, the quality of service relies heavily on the use of fiber optic cables (FOCs).

Unlike traditional copper wiring and microwave radios which transmit data through electric and radio signals, fiber optics uses pulses of light beamed through thin wires of glass.

“This ‘optical’ technology allows for efficient, high speed transmission of data even over long distances. We are the only telco that can provide extensive LTE coverage because we have the most extensive Fiber Optic Cable network,” Peña said.

“The PLDT group has more than 54,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables which link up the entire country—more than 3 to 4 times than what our competitors could claim,” said Peña.

Last October, Smart linked all of its Metro Manila cell sites via fiber and completed linking its cell sites with that of sister company Sun Cellular nationwide.

Both projects helped improve the quality of Smart’s call, text, and data services, which was confirmed by major network suppliers and by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the company said.

Based on the latest NTC figures from the 3rd quarter of 2012, Smart’s network bested the competition in terms of the following key performance indices (KPIs): Block Call Rate, Drop Call Rate, Call Set-Up Time, Average Signal Quality, and Average Receive Signal Level.

“What the tests results mean is that Smart subscribers enjoy better-quality service,” said PLDT Smart Spokesperson Ramon Isberto.

“We are able to deliver superior voice, text, and data services even though we have
the largest subscriber base,” Isberto said.

The improved network also enabled Smart to introduce the country’s first High Definition Voice service, the company said. (PR)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 08, 2013.

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