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Smart powers e-learning at McDonald’s McClassrooms

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), wireless arm of the country’s largest and only integrated telco PLDT, is supporting McDonald’s Philippines’ McClassroom initiative by providing additional Smart Bro Pocket Wifi units to participating restaurants for teachers who need connectivity in making their distance learning lessons.

Smart is turning over 200 Smart Bro Pocket Wifi units to McDonald’s, offering more connectivity options for teachers who will be using the McClassrooms, which are party rooms in selected McDonald’s branches across the country which have been converted into teachers’ work stations.

“Telecommunications is the crucial backbone which supports public services, businesses, and people. And Smart has been put in a unique position to address the evolving needs of our customers as a result of the current situation,” said Jane J. Basas, Smart Senior Vice President and Head of Consumer Wireless Business.

“We are doing our best to connect as many as we can, so we continue to provide free phones, load and pocket wi-fis to students and teachers who are most in need. This initiative with McDonald’s is just the latest in these efforts to equip our teachers with the connectivity they need to be able to transition into the New Normal,” Basas added.

Smart has also recently partnered with McDonald’s in deploying super-speed and secure carrier-grade Smart WiFi in key McDonald’s branches in Luzon and in Cebu in the coming months. Under this partnership, Smart is rolling out fiber-powered Wifi connectivity in McDonald’s stores to provide the best customer experience on public wifi.

“At the end of the day, Customer Experience is about the Human Experience. We may not be able to be physically close to one another, but our sincere hope is that with the use of Smart technology, we can help keep all of us together,” Basas said.

“We are happy to pay tribute to our teachers who are our partners in nation-building,” said Kenneth Yang, President and CEO of McDonald’s. “We are thankful to Smart for their support by giving us more than 200 units of their Smart Bro Pocket Wifis and LTE devices for our McClassrooms.”

Smart Bro Pocket WiFi units are powered by Smart LTE, the country’s fastest mobile data network according to third-party analytics firms Ookla and Opensignal.

Smart also recently launched the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi, which delivers significantly faster speeds by using Carrier Aggregation, the latest technique in mobile communications that is used to help meet the target data rates for data-intensive mobile apps and services. Carrier Aggregation does this by combining more than one component carrier together within and across bands, much like combining two or more highways to handle more traffic and use available capacity more efficiently. Thus, the Smart Bro LTE-Advanced Pocket WiFi is able to deliver more data rates per user, reduced latency, and increased capacity for subscribers.

As of end-August, Smart had further ramped up its LTE rollout, increasing the number of LTE base stations on its network by 15% to 28,200. This accelerated network rollout has included the firing up of LTE sites in far-flung areas, including Pag-asa Island in Palawan and fifth-class municipality of Kawayan in the island province of Biliran.

To date, Smart’s high-speed mobile broadband service is available in 93% of the country’s cities and municipalities and serves 95% of the population.

Supporting Smart’s mobile network is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which is the most extensive in the country and now spans 382,500 kilometers, up 19% from end-2019.

This network rollout is part of the PLDT group’s sustained investments in their network, which have totaled some Php260 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 Php70 billion or more.