Smart, Sun Cellular boost Palawan 3G network coverage

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Thursday, April 24, 2014


SUBSCRIBERS of Smart and Sun Cellular have started benefitting from a faster mobile data service in Palawan following the completion of parent company PLDT’s deployment of 620 kilometers of state- of-the-art submarine fiber optic cables linking the province to the rest of its nationwide network backbone.

“This network boost does not only help locals, it will also help tourists visiting the many attractions in Palawan to have a more enjoyable stay in the famous island-destination. This will hopefully help boost tourism and other businesses in the province,” said Orlando Vea, chief wireless advisor of Smart Communications and president and CEO of Digital Mobile Philippines.

The P861-million cable project is part of PLDT’s nationwide expansion of its fiber optic network, which now spans over 78,000 kilometers. The roll-out in Palawan is comprised of state-of-the-art fiber optic inland and submarine cables that run from Puerto Princesa to Taytay in Palawan, and San Jose de Buenavista to Lapaz, Iloilo City.

Mobile Internet

In 2004, Smart built the first microwave-based backbone for Palawan, which used microwave radio to transmit voice and data. This enabled Smart subscribers in the province to use multimedia messaging and mobile Internet on their wireless devices, aside from voice calls and text.

Before the microwave backbone was built, the province was connected via VSAT or Very Small Aperture Terminals, which were costly and had less bandwidth.

The Palawan Local tourism board said it welcomed the development, highlighting that Internet access is a service valued by both local and foreign tourists.

“We are excited about this development because as you know social media helps a lot in promoting our local tourism. With this roll-out, we could now get free advertisement in an instant through the photos taken by our visitors, which they subsequently share via social media,” Palawan City Tourism Officer Aileen Cynthia Amurao said.

At present Palawan receives around close to a million visitors a year, and about 40 percent of these visitors are foreign tourists looking for peaceful vacations spots.

“We all know they have a high standard in terms of wireless technology, and now that Palawan has access to high-speed wireless data services, these tourists won’t think twice about coming back and recommending the place to their friends back home,” Amurao said. (PR)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on April 25, 2014.

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