Network updates from the Philippines: PLDT’s wireless arm, Smart Communications, says LTE traffic surged in 2017, while rival Globe Telecom said it is well ahead of schedule in its fixed and wireless broadband rollout plan.
Smart said the number of LTE devices being used on itsnetwork has jumped 102% year-on-year, while LTE data traffic has also increased by as much as 204% nationwide.
Notable increases in LTE data traffic on Smart’s networks have been recorded in Cebu province, where it increased by as much as 219%, and in Davao del Sur, where it grew by 75% between December 2016 and December 2017.
PLDT and Smart have already completed 3G and LTE rollouts in these areas, particularly in Metro Cebu and Metro Davao, the country’s biggest urban hubs outside of Metro Manila. PLDT also launched LTE support for Sun subscribers in Cebu, its main ‘Sun country’, last year.
Meanwhile, LTE data traffic in Pampanga likewise doubled (up by 130%), while LTE data traffic in Bulacan tripled (increased by 244%) between the same period, also due to the ongoing rollout of LTE sites in the area.
The number of LTE devices being used on the Smart network in Cebu and Davao have also doubled year-on-year, increasing by 95% and 108%, respectively.
To make more LTE handsets available to the market, Smart has partnered with device manufacturers to encourage customers to shift to LTE handsets, particularly those running on 700 MHz.
Smart is also helping customers upgrade to LTE SIMs through its free SIM Upgrade program, where customers can upgrade to LTE SIMs for free and retain their numbers. Smart also launched an LTE SIM check via SMS program, where customers can text SIMCHECK to 5832 to check if their SIMS are LTE-capable already or not.
This year, Smart is expected to roll-out its LTE-A service with carrier aggregation in more areas of the country. Carrier aggregation involves combining two or more radio frequency bands to deliver bigger bandwidth and faster data speeds to mobile phone users.
Globe stays ahead of broadband rollout schedule
Meanwhile, Globe Telecom said it deployed more than 1 million new broadband lines over the last two years, which puts it ahead of schedule in its plan to roll out 2 million new broadband lines by 2020.
In terms of wired broadband facilities, Globe has deployed fiber broadband in 12 cities in Metro Manila as well as in 19 provinces nationwide. The majority of the company’s fiber build is in Quezon City, Sta. Rosa and Calamba in Laguna as well as in Cebu and Davao.
Globe continues to deploy VDSL, which is now available in 16 cities in Metro Manila and in 18 areas that include Bulacan, Cavite, Baguio, Cavite, Cebu and Davao City.
Joel Agustin, Globe Senior Vice President for Program Governance, Network Technical Group, said the operator’s deployment of massive MIMO technology has also contributed to its accelerated broadband rollout.
“The goal is to provide for the growing data service needs of our customers and the company will continue to aggressively roll out broadband lines using latest available technologies such as the massive MIMO,” he said.
Globe began commercial deployment of massive MIMO in 2017 to enhance mobile internet connectivity in high-density areas.