Smart Communications, the mobile arm of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), has successfully deployed Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in the 1800MHz band, making its 4G service tri-band. The cellco was already using the 850MHz band and the higher 2600MHz band to carry the service, launched on 25 August, says PLDT and Smart network and IP systems head Rolando Pena. The official told the Sun Star newspaper that Smart is looking to give its customers a choice of networks and services for advanced mobile data. ‘We have the equipment, we have the capability, we have the system and we have the frequency asset. Why don’t we use it?’ he is quoted as saying.
It is understood the frequencies in question in the 1800MHz band once belonged to Smart’s former sister unit Pilipino Telephone Corp (or Piltel). Piltel’s frequencies and nationwide cellular mobile licence were transferred to Smart Broadband Inc, a subsidiary of Smart, when the former ceased to be a cellular operator. Pena confirmed that the addition of the 1800MHz band brings to three the frequencies being used to support the LTE service. ‘By making these three bandwidths available, this deployment ensures that the Smart network has superior coverage and capacity, and the flexibility and resiliency to serve the needs of subscribers,’ said Pena. As such, Smart is currently the only tri-band 4G/LTE operator in the region.