Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) on Tuesday said it has upgraded all its cell sites in Visayas with Long-Term Evolution (LTE), increasing the capacity and speed of wireless data networks
“Rolling out in an archipelago and in the countryside presents unique challenges. This has to be taken into consideration. Recently, we fired up an LTE base station in Pag-asa Island in the municipality of Kalayaan, the country’s most remote cell site. We have also fired up a cell site in Brgy. Tucdao, Kawayan in Biliran,” Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering said.
“These are far-flung communities, but we are committed to doing this. We have been constantly improving our services by expanding our network wherever possible,” he added.
Smart has also expanded LTE capacity in the Visayas by 31% compared to end-2019.
Smart LTE is available in the region’s major cities of Cebu, Iloilo, and Bohol, in Tacloban and Ormoc in Leyte, as well as in the Eastern Samar capital city of Borongan, Northern Samar capital of Catarman City, and Western cities of Catbalogan and Calbayog.
As of end-August, Smart had increased the number of LTE base stations by 15 percent to 28,200 nationwide, in order to provide reliable mobile connectivity and address the increasing demand of customers due to COVID-19 pandemic, where most employees and students are at home.
Meanwhile, PLDT has also expanded its fiber network across the country. PLDT’s fiber footprint, the most extensive in the country at more than 382,500 kilometers, also supports Smart’s wireless network by providing high-capacity fiber connections for LTE-powered stations.
This accelerated network rollout forms part of the PLDT group’s sustained investments in their network, which have totaled some P260 billion from 2015 to 2019.
With the regained momentum of its network rollout efforts following the easing of lockdown restrictions, PLDT has leveled up its target capital expenditures for 2020 back up to P70 billion or more.