Smart Communications (including Sun Cellular), the mobile arm of PLDT Inc., has announced that mobile users in the country’s premier tourist destination, Boracay Island can now receive an improved mobile data service thanks to the deployment of 4-component carrier (4CC) aggregation technology – in conjunction with strategy and technology partner Huawei Technologies. Smart claimed that initial tests carried out using the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ smartphones achieved average data speeds of 280Mbps, with the promise of speeds of up to 500Mbps via 4×4 Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MIMO) and 256QAM technology on the live network on the island. ‘This is just a preview of what can be achieved using the network that Smart is currently rolling out and continuously improving throughout the country,’ said Mario G Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.
Smart has been deploying its LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) network upgrades in the country’s major urban hubs: Metro Manila, Rizal, Metro Cebu and Metro Davao. Using carrier aggregation (CA), Smart has already successfully deployed 3C carrier aggregation in parts of its network, and will now use 4CC aggregation features to combine four separate spectrum blocks to deliver even greater capacity and speeds. The cellco’s ongoing LTE and LTE-A rollout is part of a broader drive to improve overall quality of service available to Smart subscribers. The current network improvement activities in Metro Manila aim to improve indoor LTE and 3G data signals, as well as indoor 3G and 2G voice calls. Smart is targeting to expand the number of municipalities with LTE coverage to 783 by the end of this year, about half of the three-year target of 1,551 municipalities by the end of 2018 (by which date it targets 95% LTE population coverage).