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November 22, 2011

Things to expect from Smart’s 4G LTE service

Based on the exhaustive discussion we had with the technical group that’s in charge of the beta testing for Smart LTE yesterday, here are several of the more important information we got from them.

The LTE network will be rolled out separately from their HSPA+ which means we’ll still continue to see more HSPA+ base stations in the coming months (the last count is somewhere around 1400+ sites). The current number of LTE sites is still very limited (just over 20+) but will continue to grow towards 2012.

The current LTE setup has a coverage of only 1.2km (in radius) which is pretty short but that’s how Smart configured it for this test phase. That could mean they will just expand this reach by increasing signal strength. The optimum distance is about 200 to 300 meters away from the site.

The beta phase will last until February 2012 so we won’t see any commercial release before then. That should give Smart ample time to get feedback from beta testers and fine tune the service before the official launch. Just hope that all those beta testers (there will be 130 of them) will provide ample and relevant feedback.

Smart did mention a 50GB monthly cap for the test accounts. We’re not sure if this will also be the same cap once the service rolls out to the public.

There’s no definite pricing plan yet but Smart tells us this is going to be offered as a postpaid plan. They did tell us that this is going to be in the vicinity of “premium plans” which means expensive. If you ask me, I’m looking at a price plan of no lower than Php3,000 a month considering the Power Plug-it 5Mbps is Php1,295.

The LTE dongle used here is the Huawei E392 and supports speeds of up to 42Mbps. However, Smart’s LTE service is pegged at 25Mbps for downlink, not 42Mbps. We’ve yet to take speed tests on the LTE sites mentioned to us.

While the LTE bandwidth is separate from the regular 3G bandwidth, the Huawei E392 can automatically switch back to HSPA when there are no LTE signal in your location. That could mean you will still benefit from all those 1400+ HSPA+ sites around the country and still get speeds of up to 12Mbps like the SmartBro Rocket.

Still haven’t found that LTE signal I hunted down at MOA this morning. For the meantime, I am able to configure it to set at HSPA+ the whole day and seems to be working fine.

However, this is the best speed at HSPA+ I got this afternoon.

The results are optimistic and I’m dying to see how that LTE speeds live up to its promise. Maybe I’ll be lucky tomorrow.

Smart LTE 4G now on Beta Test
Smart LTE Bucket pricing for all LTE devices
Smart extends unlimited LTE, bares regular pricing

15 Responses to “Things to expect from Smart’s 4G LTE service”

  1. Israel Nicolas says:

    Yes we will finally have real 3G speeds in the Philippines!

  2. jayb says:

    smart broken. . i prefer Globe

  3. radioactive_balut says:

    “The results are optimistic and I’m dying to see how that LTE speeds live up to its promise. Maybe I’ll be lucky tomorrow.”

    Smart didn’t provide you with a list of LTE ready sites?

  4. kevs says:

    meron LTE signal daw sa MOA North building.

    Sir Yuga parehas lang ba sila ng speed ng Huawei E372? Yung Tonino Lamborghini ng Globe??

  5. JM says:

    Hi sir abe, I just tried their LTE Modem on Jump Center and I was amazed of its speed it reaches over 60Mpbs download and about 10Mbps upload, I tried playing an 1080p video on Youtube and it doesn’t took a break :) I also asked one of the representative about this product and they say that LTE can reach upto 100Mbps.

  6. JM says:

    Hi sir abe, I just tried their LTE Modem on Jump Center and I was amazed of its speed it reaches over 60Mpbs download and about 10Mbps upload, I tried playing an 1080p video on Youtube and it doesn’t took a break :) I also asked one of the representative about this product and they say that LTE can reach upto 100Mbps. I’m still looking for the photo I took when I test the speed over speedtest.net. I’ll update you once I find it :)

  7. Vins says:

    6Mbps? They promised 45Mbps in their site. Anyways, the true test will begin when they roll-out to the public. I am doubting this new LTE, just like what I experienced with their Smart BRO and Smart 3G. I will stick to my DSL provider for now.

  8. panpan023
    Twitter: bryanmosessalud
    says:

    grabe ung ping at speed ..

  9. Benchmark says:

    I agree…it maybe fast in beta…but the real test is when it gets to the public…

    parang demo units yan na sometimes demo units are modified version of the real one. Para makaenganyo ng buyer.

    as usual you will again see in the fine lines tthe words “UP TO”. I know there is no perfect to these, but then again, I still go to one internet plan that gives you the real speed you are paying for.

  10. Faust
    Twitter: cool_iceman9
    says:

    i want to be a beta tester, can we have that in davao city? smart help!

  11. Nonoy
    Twitter: noyavellanosa
    says:

    I wonder why this kind of Smart Bro Plug-It can be much faster than the Canopy wireless broadband.

  12. I bought 1 unit for Php6,450.00 last December 2012 and VOILA! That Smartbro Rocket Wifi Plus is a BIG HOAX!! Up to 20 Mbps download speed? BUL______HIT@#$%!!!! That FU____KING&*%$#@ Smartbro 4G made me believe in SENSELESS ADVERTISEMENT!!!!

    http://www.speedtest.net/result/1943799179.png

  13. kjgh says:

    -pareho lang sila ng sister company nyang SUN CELLULAR! 3.6mbps daw pero di
    nila nilalagay sa ad nila na 2AM-6AM mo lang marereach ang speed na to! KALOKOHAN!!!

    -10gig a month nowadays is crazy.

    -Even if they double the cap to 20gb, it still seems too low. I don’t see the point of having that
    much speed if you’re limited in terms of the bandwith. Browsing speed wouldn’t have a lot of
    difference between a 3mbps connection and a 41mbps connection.

    -42Mbps can eat up 10GB in roughly 30 minutes of continuous, contiguous data transfer.
    Spread that out over 30 days, and you might as well just be on 1Mbps.

    -42 Mbps capped at 10 GB per month? That’s not SMART.

    -precisely, what would you do with the speed and have a cap?

    -10 GB/month? No way.

    -i can use that 10gb within 2hours. 3500 for a 2 fast movie streaming. id rather buy dvd copies!

    -10GB a month at P3500/month? Too rich for my blood.
    What’s the point of having phenomenal speeds like that when you cap it at 10GB a month?
    either way its a bad move for smart having limited for 10gb.
    Like other muggers said, its not practical. The reason why people even need faster speed,
    is to consume more / download more.
    You don’t need a 50mbps speed just to do internet surfing and twitter.Doesn’t make sense

    -target market would probably be those who wanna show off LTE tech to friends.
    for the next 3 hours at least. then he gets to show it off again next month
    for another 3 hours haha

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Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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