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Smart to widen coverage, double LTE capacity in Batangas

Customers in Batangas can look forward to faster speeds and better mobile data experience as PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications Inc (Smart) accelerates its latest round of upgrades in one of the country’s biggest and most populous provinces.

After increasing the coverage and tripling the capacity of its Long Term Evolution (LTE) network in Batangas in 2018, Smart is further ramping up the roll-out of LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) across the province so that Batangueños can experience even faster speeds using capable devices.

“This year, we are further doubling LTE and 3G capacity in Batangas, to better serve the needs of the close to 3 million people who live and work in the province,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.

“In addition to deploying more LTE base stations, we are also adding new sites to better address needs of our customers in Batangas, particularly in major roads like the Southern Tagalog Arterial Road, in points of convergence such as schools, government offices and public markets, in industrial areas, as well as in tourism sites and beach resorts,” Tamayo added.

Smart is also doubling its LTE capacity in the provincial capital Lipa City, as well as increasing both coverage and capacity in Batangas City, which hosts the country’s busiest port.

Tamayo also noted that more Batangas customers are now using smartphones and mobile data.

“By improving our network in one of Southern Luzon’s most populous provinces, we are better addressing the needs of our Batangueño customers who are increasingly relying on mobile data to accomplish day-to-day tasks, such as keeping in touch with their families, sending and receiving work files while on-the-go, or accessing online services such as mobile banking or e-commerce,” Tamayo said.

Best network in the country

These network enhancement efforts in Batangas are part of PLDT and Smart’s nationwide thrust to upgrade their fixed and mobile networks across the country.

Underpinning this network is PLDT’s expansive fiber network, which also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links to cellular base stations. The country’s most extensive fiber infrastructure, it is now at 244,000 kilometers.

As of end-2018, Smart has increased the number of LTE base stations nationwide by over 86% year-on-year to about 16,200, while the number of 3G base stations also increased by 17% to about 11,500. This massive deployment has enabled Smart to provide mobile broadband in at least 90% of the country’s cities and municipalities.

PLDT and Smart are undertaking another massive capital expenditures program for 2019 by allocating up to P78.4 billion budget this year, P20 billion higher than the previous year, to push further the companies’ already significant network advantage.