Since we beta tested the LTE service of Smart from last year (it ended around March), I’ve been asked a lot of times when they will officially launch the service in the Philippines. There was lot of noise about it since last year leading to 1st quarter of this year and then there was silence.
We were expecting that by June, Smart would have already launched its LTE service commercially and we’d actually be able to experience those blazing fast mobile internet speeds (I was getting as fast as 40Mbps on SpeedTest and up to 2MB/s on torrents).
During the beta phase back in February, we were told that Smart was fast-tracking the network upgrade and their engineering team was working 24/7 equipping the base stations for LTE deployment.
This week, they have announced that they’re finished with the network upgrade — “Smart replaced the radio equipment in 9,500 base stations with next-generation facilities that have increased its network’s capacity“.
â€œEvery single base station of Smart is now easily upgradeable to fourth-generation technologies like HSPA+ and LTE,â€ added Smart president and CEO Napoleon L. Nazareno.
That means with a flip of a switch, we can have a full functional LTE network. When this switch will be turned on is another matter altogether (an Engineer from Huawei tells us it’s just a software switch). Could be this month, next month, end of the year or next year. What I know is that they promised it will be up and running and we will see speeds of up to 50Mbps on our LTE handsets (or modems) really soon. Then again, the service will certainly priced at a premium.
And that’s all that we know for now.