PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has started deploying four-component carrier (4CC) aggregation technology in its Metro Manila network, to provide very high LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) mobile data speeds to users with capable devices.
In a series of tests conducted recently in Marikina City using Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ smartphones, Smart’s LTE-A network consistently delivered speeds of over 300 Mbps in a single-user scenario, and over 200 Mbps in a multi-user, daytime set-up.
“These real-world tests show that we have in place a network that’s capable of providing extremely high speeds at par with those delivered by operators in other countries,” according to Joachim Horn, chief technology and information advisor at PLDT and Smart.
“As more Filipinos acquire LTE-A capable devices, so will we benefit from significant improvements in the speeds and quality of internet in the Philippines,” added Horn.
As highlighted by wireless research firm OpenSignal in its global “The State of LTE (November 2017)” report, countries that logged the fastest speeds tend to be the ones that have deployed LTE-A, and have a large proportion of LTE-A capable devices.
Using carrier aggregation (CA), or the combination of multiple frequency channels to provide a much wider highway for the flow of mobile data, Smart is deploying LTE-A initially in the country’s urban areas where there are predominantly more users of advanced devices, to slowly roll out to the rest of the country.
In a large part of NCR, this will be done using 4CC, or the combination of four separate frequency channels to deliver much greater capacity and speeds.
“Ramping up our LTE-A deployment not only allows us to address the rapidly rising mobile data traffic among our customers, it also allows us to maximize the value of our investments in Long-Term Evolution (LTE), or the forerunner of LTE-A,” Horn added.
PLDT and Smart have committed to massively deploy high-speed LTE across the country, to make it available to over 90% of the country’s population by end-2018. Under a three-year network transformation program, Smart has finished its LTE deployment in Metro Davao and Metro Cebu, in the island of Boracay, and in the province of Rizal. It is currently underway in Metro Manila and in key cities in other parts of the country. In a parallel effort, Smart is also assisting its customers to shift to LTE devices and upgrade to LTE SIMs so that they can fully enjoy the improved network.
“To complete the picture, we are also massively rolling out fiber. Deploying LTE and fiber lays the foundation that allows PLDT and Smart to rapidly upgrade to technologies – LTE-A, for example, that offer greater capacity and higher speeds,” added Horn.
Smart became the first operator to commercially deploy LTE-A in the Philippines when it fired up the service in Boracay in April last year. The PLDT wireless unit followed it up in August this year by activating 4CC in the island, delivering much greater capacity and speeds to users of capable devices.