MANILA, Philippines – Smart Communications Inc. will continue to expand its 4G long-term evolution (LTE) network in the country this year as part of the PLDT Group’s P32 billion capital expenditures.
The telecommunication firm's LTE network coverage is expected to reach all major cities and 25 more municipalities nationwide.
“This move is seen to extend the reach of Smart’s 4G LTE network to close to 50 percent of the country’s population, maintaining its position as the mobile company with the most extensive 4G LTE network in the Philippines,” technology head for Smart and PLDT Rolando Peña said.
Peña said expansions are being made as growth in data traffic and demand for faster mobile broadband services continue to increase.
“We are expecting a tremendous growth in data traffic, and we hope to sustain the pace of our aggressive LTE roll-out in order to keep up with the demand of our subscribers,” he said.
4G, or the fourth generation of mobile communications technology, includes HSPA+, Wimax and LTE.
LTE is the world’s fastest commercially available mobile internet service, offering data speeds of up to 20 times more rapid than 3G connections.
Smart successfully conducted the country’s first trial of LTE-Advanced, which can support data services with speeds of 100 to 400 Mbps, in August last year.
Aside from expanding its 4G LTE coverage, PLDT president and chief executive officer Napoleon Nazareno said capital expenditures this year will be used to expand Smart’s 3G coverage to 100 percent from 71 percent of the population.
PLDT Group’s fiber footprint will also be increased to 90,000 kilometers from 78,000 kilometers.
The capital expenditures will also include investments for network enhancements, new service delivery platforms and network intelligence.