Will the iPhone 5 come with LTE connectivity or not? Weâ€™ll only know for sure once itâ€™s officially announced and unveiled to the public, but as far as LTE goes in the Philippines, we can look forward to SMARTâ€™s network to be 100% LTE-ready by mid-2012.
This is the big announcement SMART made regarding the upgrading of their network to 4G standards. When 2011 came to a close, over 5,000 SMART base stations were already 4G ready. Given SMARTâ€™s got over 13,000 base stations spread all over the country, they were actually close to half way done at the start of 2012.
SMARTâ€™s sill coy though on what LTE-capable device theyâ€™ll have ready for the local market once their entire network is 4G ready, but given the bevy of LTE devices recently unveiled at CES 2012 â€“ the Nokia Lumia 900 just being one of them â€“ you prolly already have an idea of what SMART might have in store for us this 2012 when their transition is complete.
But how about we help out SMART in this department. Any particular LTE-capable device you want to see offered up in the Philippines?
I, for one, wouldn’t mind seeing the Nokia Lumia 900 in the Philippines, and if rumors are true, then the iPhone 5 (or iPad 3) would then surely be a perfect fit to SMART’s LTE network.
How about you guys? What’s on your LTE wish list?
Full press release follows:
Smart LTE-ready by mid-2012
Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) will upgrade its entire mobile phone network to â€śLTE-readyâ€ť status by as early as mid-2012, company officials said Friday.
â€śThat means we will be able to activate LTE or HSPA+ services at any of our base stations, depending what the market in that area requires,â€ť said PLDT and Smart Technology Group Head Rolando G. PeĂ±a.
â€śThis is a major component of the P67.1 billion network modernization of PLDT and Smart which we have accelerated and intend to complete within the year,â€ť he added.
LTE is shorthand for the most advanced fourth generation (4G) wireless technology called Long Term Evolution which is capable of speeds of 100 Mbps and above. High Speed Access Plus (HSPA+) is a 4G technology that can deliver speeds of up to 80 Mbps.
To make its network of over 13,000 base stations 4G-ready, Smart is installing Single Radio Access Network (Single RAN) base stations in all of its cell sites. Single RAN facilities can be easily upgraded to offer either HSPA+ or LTE services through software upgrades and some additional hardware equipment.
PLDT and Smart are also rolling more fiber optic cables (FOCs) to connect its base stations to the rest of the network. FOCs enable the network to carry data traffic in greater volumes and faster speeds with greater resiliency.
As of end-2011, over 5,000 Smart base stations were already 4G-readyâ€”close to 3,000 of which are already 4G-equipped (with LTE, HSPA+ and Wi-Max facilities) â€”backed by more than 45,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables arranged in â€śloopsâ€ť.
â€śLoopingâ€ť allows data to be redirected to other avenues or channels, should one channel of connectivity be cut thus making the PLDT groupâ€™s network the most comprehensive and the most resilient in the Philippines.
â€śWe have fast-tracked this program because consumer and business demand for mobile broadband services is growing rapidly. At the same time, more LTE and HSPA+ devices are being brought into the market,â€ť PeĂ±a said.
Market analytics firm Pyramid Research (www.pyr.com) cites in its latest report that increased demand for mobile video is one of the main factors for the tenfold increase in the number of commercially-available LTE devices last year.
Pyramid Research goes as far as to predict that smartphones will surpass personal computers (PCs) as the largest market segment which uses LTE by as early as 2014.
In the recently-concluded Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, USA, several LTE-capable phones have been unveiled.
These include the HTC Titan II, the Nokia Lumia 900, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7, and the Sony Xperia ion.
Rumors of the third Apple iPad sporting 4G LTE connectivity have also been a hot topic in blogs, social media, and technology news sites.
Leading in 4G
Smart was the first Philippine mobile operator to start deploying LTE facilities last year in strategic areas of the country. In November 2011, Smart made â€śSmart Evolution LTEâ€ť available to select members of the media via a closed beta test.
Using LTE-capable USB dongles, test participants have experienced speeds of up to 80Mbpsâ€”faster than most commercially-available wired and wireless Internet services in the market today.
Smart has also installed the largest network of HSPA+ base stations which supports Smart Bro Rocket Plug-It and Smart Bro Rocket WiFi Plus, the fastest portable Internet devices in the country.
Smart is also the only company in the Philippines which carries HSPA+ in two frequency bands.
â€śOur HSPA+ service which runs in both 850MHz and 2100MHz allows our subscribers to get stable signal reception, faster download speeds, and better battery life wherever they may be in the country,â€ť said PeĂ±a. â€śThis is especially useful for subscribers who use smartphones and tablets, as these devices consume large amounts of data and battery power,â€ť he said.
For more information about Smartâ€™s 4G products and services, visit www.smart.com.ph or follow the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SmartCommunications.
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