[Baguio City | 21 February 2012] Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) today fired up the first and only Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Baguio City, in time for the annual Panagbenga festival — marking the introduction of LTE in Northern Luzon.
LTE is the most advanced fourth generation (4G) wireless technology, capable of speeds of 100 Mbps and above. With LTE, users can download movies in minutes, stream flawlessly in High Definition, and engage in other media-rich online activities like gaming, at breakneck speeds.
“We are very pleased that residents of Baguio City and the tourists that are expected to flock to the city during Panagbenga will be among the first to experience the future of mobile broadband, which is LTE,” said Rolando G. Peña, head for technology of both Smart and parent company Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT).
First deployed by Smart in Boracay and Cebu and now live in most parts of Metro Manila, the LTE deployment in the City of Pines is in line with PLDT and Smart’s recent announcement that they will complete their P67.1 billion network transformation initiative by mid-2012.
High-speed Internet for All
“In line with our Internet for All advocacy, in the coming months we will bring LTE to other cities and municipalities all over the Philippines, as we upgrade our network and make it world-class, while at the same time, make it more stable and more reliable,” added Peña.
PLDT and Smart’s network transformation involves the replacement of existing radio base station equipment with state-of-the-art facilities that enable Smart to expand its 3G network and rapidly deploy 4G mobile phone technologies such as LTE and HSPA+ or Enhanced High-Speed Packet Access.
The initiative also involves the roll out of more fiber optic cables (FOCs) to connect Smart’s base stations to the rest of the network. FOCs enable the network to carry data traffic in greater volumes and faster speeds, with greater resiliency.
To date, over half of Smart base stations are already 4G-ready — supported by more than 45,000 kilometers of FOCs fully covering mainland Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao, and arranged in ‘loops’.
‘Looping’ allows data to be redirected to other avenues or channels, should one channel of connectivity be cut, thus making the PLDT group’s network the most comprehensive and most resilient in the Philippines.
Technology of the future, now
“It is especially meaningful for us to deploy LTE in Baguio City, as this is one of the areas where we first laid down our digital fiber optic network traversing several key Northern Luzon places, including the Ilocos region, Aparri, Cagayan, Cabanatuan, La Union, among others,” added Peña.
Then, as in now, PLDT and Smart expect that providing the most advanced cellular and data infrastructure in the summer capital of the country will help Baguio City attract more companies to consider it as a potential destination for offshore operations, and encourage tourism, given the connectivity it provides .
“With a faster data pipe and a world-class mobile infrastructure, there are no limits to what subscribers in Baguio City can experience – only Smart can give them the technology of the future, now,” Peña said.
Aside from extending the reach and speed of its mobile Internet services, Smart’s network transformation initiative will also strengthen its voice call and SMS services and raise the overall quality of its services in Baguio City.