18 Oct 2016
Smart Communications, a mobile division of Filipino telecoms giant PLDT Inc, says it has completed the optimisation of LTE-enabled sites in Davao City. The carrier’s head of distributors’ sales, Gia Palafox, confirmed that ‘almost 100% of all our cell sites here in Davao City has been transformed and optimised to LTE-enabled sites’, although she stopped short of divulging how many cell sites had actually been upgraded. According to Ms. Palafox, the optimisation of Smart’s LTE sites across the rest of the country will follow in the coming days and weeks. The PLDT unit kicked off the optimisation in August this year and will see 4G upgrades being implemented over the next three years. By end-2016 Smart intends to triple the density of LTE-enabled sites in the Davao Region as part of a goal to cover 95% or 1,551 cities/municipalities in the country by 31 December 2018. Smart has set aside PHP43 billion (USD990 million) in total CAPEX this year, with a significant portion of that allocated for 4G; LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) is set to follow over the term of the three-year project, combining 700MHz and 2100MHz spectrum using carrier aggregation (CA). Furthermore, the cellco says that this year it is deploying 360 cell sites at 700MHz in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao and neighbouring key cities and municipalities – aiming to blanket some 40% of the country’s 1,634 cities and municipalities by the end of 2016.