PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications has delivered significant improvement in its mobile internet service, with its download speeds steadily improving through the months, according to a JPMorgan study based on data from crowd-sourcing research agency OpenSignal.
In an April 2017 report based on the actual mobile experience of OpenSignal app users, JP Morgan said Smart “leads in overall LTE download speeds and at regional levels.” The OpenSignal app enables mobile data users to run their own speed tests.
At the country level, Smart recorded an average LTE download speed of 10.91 Mbps from December 2016 to February 2017. It averaged 11.76 Mbps in Metro Manila, 8.56 Mbps in South Luzon, and 10.42 Mbps in the Visayas in the same period, the data showed.
Smart has improved its average LTE speeds in all areas covered by the study, with the latest figures Smart’s highest in the last eight testing periods of OpenSignal.
Smart also led in terms of average 3G download speeds at the country level (2.22 Mbps) and in Metro Manila (3.25 Mbps). These 3G figures are also Smart’s highest in the last eight testing periods.
“We are happy to know that our subscribers are increasingly enjoying our newest and fastest LTE network. We have made intensive capital outlay to accelerate the deployment of LTE sites because LTE significantly boosts the speed, quality, and reliability of our mobile data service,” said PLDT-Smart chief technology and information advisor Joachim Horn.
Smart is re-equipping its cell sites to use low-frequency bands such as 700 MHz and 850 MHz to provide better indoor coverage. It is also deploying high-frequency bands like 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz to increase the cell sites’ capacity to handle mobile data traffic.
PLDT and Smart have committed to make LTE progressively available to 95 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities by the end of 2018.
“While the JPMorgan study did not include Mindanao, our subscribers are already experiencing improved LTE service there, particularly in Metro Davao where we have completed our network overhaul program,” Horn said.
“Soon, more Filipinos from all over the country will enjoy a digital experience like never before,” said PLDT-Smart chief revenue officer Eric Alberto.
Through its LTE rollout, Smart is also laying the foundation for further service improvements, such as LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) which can provide even faster speeds and greater capacity to subscribers, Horn said.
Smart has also continued to fortify its 3G network to better serve the majority of its smartphone-owning subscribers, who are using 3G handsets, he added.