PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are increasing the capacity and reach of their fixed and wireless networks in Davao Region to meet their customers’ ever-increasing demand for data services.
As of June, Smart has ramped-up the installation of LTE base stations across its existing sites in Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Davao Occidental.
Smart’s mobile network is supported by PLDT’s extensive fiber infrastructure, which provides high-capacity links to LTE base stations and is now nearly 360,000 kilometers nationwide.
With these network improvement efforts, PLDT and Smart are also able to support this year's digital Kadayawan Festival in Davao City. PLDT and Smart are also sponsoring various events and contests, including the Paglaum Concert, where Smart is providing free GIGA Study to selected scholars in Davao City.
Launched recently, GIGA Study is a prepaid data pack aimed at giving students simpler access to a selection of learning apps and productivity tools, in order to help them adapt to online learning in the new normal.
To encourage more Davaoenos to upgrade to LTE, Smart has also teamed up with local partners in offering exclusive discounts on LTE devices, as well as discounted GIGA load packages such as GIGA Stories, which will enable customers to join Kadayawan festivities on Facebook, and share their stories on Instagram, Twitter and Tiktok.
“As the country’s only fully integrated telecoms and digital services provider, we at PLDT and Smart are committed to continue improving customer experience on our network, especially in the new normal, where customers need connectivity to communicate with their families, study remotely and work and earn their livelihoods from the safety of their homes,” said PLDT-Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering Mario G. Tamayo.
Tamayo added that in most provinces, Smart has already upgraded its existing sites to LTE and is continuously adding LTE bands and rolling out additional physical sites in Mindanao and the rest of the country.
To date, Smart LTE is available in 91% of the country’s municipalities and serves 94% of the population.
Among the provinces with Smart LTE sites include Mindanao provinces like Misamis Occidental, Agusan del Norte and Agusan del Sur, Northern and Central Luzon provinces like Quirino and Aurora, Southern Luzon provinces like Camarines Sur, Camarines Norte, Albay and Sorsogon, and Visayas provinces like Capiz, Guimaras and Siquijor, and to name a few.
This year, Smart has also deployed 4G/LTE in remote areas of Sulu, Ifugao, Mindoro, and Northern Samar, and is ramping up its rollout in Cagayan and Isabela.
Fastest networks in the country
PLDT and Smart have recently been cited as the country's fastest fixed and mobile internet networks, outpacing the competition yet again during the first half of 2020, according to Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis.
Ookla reported that PLDT achieved a Speed ScoreTM of 24.79, with top download speeds of 70.54 Mbps and top upload speeds of 85.38 Mbps. The fixed network award is based on 48,404,707 customer-initiated Speedtest nationwide for Q1-Q2 2020.
Meanwhile, Smart posted a Speed Score of 18.33, with average download speeds of 15.94 Mbps and average upload speeds of 7.57 Mbps, based on 2,810,963 user-initiated tests taken with Speedtest® in the Philippines for the period Q1-Q2 2020. Speed Score is a measure that considers both upload and download speeds.
Drilling down, initial data included in Ookla’s country reports also showed PLDT posting big leads in key areas like Davao City, Cebu City and Quezon City, for example, while Smart is ahead in key areas like Quezon City, Cebu City and Makati City.
Earlier this year, independent mobile analytics firm Opensignal, in its April 2020 Mobile Network Experience Report for the Philippines*, also said that Smart provides the Best Video Experience, Best 4G/LTE Availability and the Best Upload and Download Speed Experience for mobile users in Davao del Sur.