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PLDT, Smart to roll out LTE on 700MHz frequency

During the Computex week, while we are covering the biggest tech event in Taipei, back in Manila, San Miguel Corporation released the 700Mhz frequency by selling it to both Globe and PLDT/Smart. In the deal, Smart/PLDT acquired 50% of the business from San Miguel Corporation.

In an official press release sent to Tech Patrol News by Smart and PLDT, the telco giant said it will start using this year the 700 MHz frequency as part of the accelerated deployment of its LTE (Long-Term Evolution) service.

“Our strategy has two legs. First is the network. Deploying LTE on 700 MHz combines a powerful frequency with the most advanced mobile phone technology,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT and Smart chief technology and information advisor. “Combined with other frequency bands, LTE on 700 MHz will help expand the coverage and enhance the capacity of our data network at a faster pace.”

The low-band 700 MHz has a longer range and provides better indoor coverage than high band frequencies.

Smart gained access to this and other additional frequencies when Smart’s parent company PLDT recently acquired 50% of the telecoms business of San Miguel Corporation.

LTE is the fourth-generation (4G) mobile phone technology that currently provides the fastest wireless data service commercially available.

Moreover, about 45% of the subscribers of PLDT’s wireless brands Smart and Sun are now using smartphones, up from only 30% last year.

The majority of these are 3G/HSPA handsets, but the number of LTE handsets is rising fast as the range of available models increases and the handset prices decline.

In yet another activity, Smart has introduced to the country the next stage of development of LTE called LTE-Advanced (LTE-A), also referred to as 4.5G. Last April, Smart fired up the country’s first 4.5G service in the resort island of Boracay, using a feature of LTE-A called carrier aggregation.

Through carrier aggregation, LTE-A combines two or more frequency bands to deliver bigger bandwidth to mobile phone users. This is like putting together several lanes of a highway so that vehicular traffic can flow more freely and at a faster rate. Using Samsung handsets capable of carrier aggregation, Smart posted data speeds of up to 250 Mbps in Boracay.

“This technology will help address the increasing demand for LTE and high-speed mobile data,” Horn said.

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