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Is there hope for #betterinternet with Smart LTE?

Smart Comm. sent out a release to the media earlier last week announcing that they will be 100% LTE-ready by mid-2012. That’s certainly good news considering that we’re just actually talking about HSPA+ coverage in the past months.

As one of the early beta-testers for Smart’s LTE roll-out, I can definitely say that there’s a great deal of difference between LTE speeds and what we’re commercially experiencing now (I am subscribed to a SmartBro Power Plug-It 999).

I am told this Huawei LTE dongle costs around Php15,000 in the market.

However, the news of 100% LTE-readiness doesn’t offer much hope. It like saying that a telco is 100% 3G-ready yet half the time you don’t get to see a 3G signal in your area?

If the network is 100% LTE-ready, it means that all the base stations are equipped to broadcast at LTE frequency. That means at anytime, they can just turn it on and you have access to super fast mobile internet speeds.

Question is, will they turn all of it ON? Not likely.


That’s because it requires additional cost to run them. If the demand in an area does not justify turning on LTE, then it won’t be activated in that base station. This is what they did with 3G, WiMax, etc so they’ll do the same with LTE.

Turning it on requires that the backbone can provide the bandwidth. It could be fiber, it could be a dedicated line or just some additional bandwidth. For remote islands, it could be satellite.

As such, the cost of providing this cutting-edge technology to Philippine consumers will certainly be higher. The pricing is said to be volume-based and that means you buy access by the bucket (a bucket of 1GB at a time perhaps). I am pretty curious though how much that bucket of bandwidth will cost. If it will be anywhere within the vicinity of how they priced SmartBro Rocket (which is Php200 per 180MB), I don’t think anyone’s gonna bite. I never used SmartBro Rocket since my first trial (bought the prepaid stick for Php3,995).

LTE sure does offer pretty amazing speeds. I’m just worried no ones going to try it out for the long haul because it will be as expensive as SmartBro Rocket.

I’ve sent out some questions to the folks at Smart and hopefully get all the answers I needed to share with everyone.

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

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35 Responses

  1. Ryuji says:

    The pricing of the Rocket is way too ridiculous to even consider buying it.

  2. Chris Ammerlaan says:

    “Turning it on requires that the backbone can provide the bandwidth”, well Smart don’t do that here in Capas Tarlac, you are lucky to get just under 200 Kb/s during the evening with Smart Broken fixed connection, and as for there plugit, even slower

  3. benchmark says:

    Like what we always say… Asanes….asa ka pa na magkakaroon ka ng matinong mobile network, eh yung mga low end nga na speed hinde nila mabigyan ng karapatdapat na speed and connection, panu pa yung mga mabilis na connection. IMO parang pineperahan lang nila ang mga consumers, the same way na pineperahan tyo sa SMS cost.

    I think if the telcos can provide a good connection & speed in their mobile internet, probably thats the good time to move to LTE.

  4. watrboy says:

    :) dapat gawin muna nilang 100% 3g ang pinas… sa Liliw, Laguna nga pag umuuwi ako.. eh 24 or 56kbps lang makukuha mong speed.. gprs lang talaga.. maka konek ka man.. mag load yung fb eh aabutin ng 5 minutes.. nyahaha.. tapos laging na dc pa.. hays..

  5. estong says:


    yan ang speed ko with huawei e5 or branded as GLOBE TATTOO MYFI POSTPAID.

    kung ganyan kabilis ang SMART, abay dyan na ako. kaso hindi naman lahat ng area may 3G ang Smart, LTE pa kaya?

    Even Globe, pareho lang silang mga manloloko sa Advertisement

  6. Rodrigo Madelo, Jr. says:

    This is so true. I can’t even get a full 3G coverage on our own house in the city. This is way too far from what they really give to the mass. If the mobile networks are into giving their services well, they should care first on setting full mobile coverage on every part of the country that needs their well-given services.

  7. dgenx210 says:

    Meh. They can’t even provide 3G-grade connection and speed throughout all of Metro Manila. Laging fall back to HSDPA then balik sa 3G tas palipa-lipat lang. Telecoms here in the Philippines are liars and profiteering bastards. They’ll only provide usable service to you if you live in a profitable area.

  8. Mere propaganda of Smart to entice potential customers!!! My family lives in san fernando city pampanga (near the city center mind you) and we can’t even get a decent connection using the smart power plug-it (supposedly promises up to 5Mbps speed). pag try namin ang skype videocall (I’m here in singapore by the way) swerte ka na kung makakonek ka, i’d say the success rate is about 1 in 5 tries (which means isang beses lng kami makapag-skype in 5 days) at ang bagal pa at laging nadi-dc. simply outrageous, skype na nga lng nakaopen nila at walang naka-open na browser or any other download and mabilis naman ang gamit nilang laptop. On my end, I’m connected thru the wifi of the company where I work at mabilis cia (singapore nga di ba kaya mabilis).
    Now, they say they will be LTE capable come mid-2012………ASA KA PA!!!

  9. metal1369 says:

    nag uunahan mga telcos to provide the latest in internet technology pero dsl at mobile phone internet palpak pa din. when will NTC wake up and monitor the telcos. nasasayang lang pera natin kaka asa na gumanda ang internet service sa bansa natin. world class technology nga, palpak naman serbisyo.

    • estong says:

      i email Atty. Alan of NTC,

      Sir Ernest,

      File your Formal Complaint to the nearest NTC Office. Kindly bring your contract and billings with Globe.


      -that was his reply. im from Cauayan City Isabela right now, saan ba ang malapit na NTC office. Then magfile ng complaint is just a waste of time. Hindi rin naman gagawan ng investigation.

  10. Glenn says:

    I think it depends on your location.
    I’m satisfied with the Mobile internet connection when I’m at Pioneer, Fort Bonifacio and East Wood area for Smart. My baseline would be that youtube videos rarely buffer when i view it over the phone. That’s good enough.
    In comparison, Globe’s internet on those area sucks.

    In other locations, i think you have to take in consideration how much money the telecom company will spend to enable a fast connection there and how much they will make in that area. If the area is remote, don’t bet on it. Do you think it would be economical to put a fiber line in the middle of nowhere? and then 1 user pays for 50pesos a day for a unli internet. business is business. nakaka Pikon lang when you’re in a populated area and they can’t provide a decent connection <- yan nakaka pikon.

  11. paolo says:

    Just get the pricing right, Smart. PLEASE.

    P.S.: Gawin niyo ring mas matino ang mobile 3G coverage sa mga lugar dito sa Pinas. PLEASE.

  12. marco_ofw says:

    Korea Telecom ang ISP namen dto at ang nakukuha kong stats sa speedtest.net ay (download [email protected] 48.50Mbps) at (upload [email protected] 23.25Mbps)Seoul City hosted by Ookla,mga 270 kms ang layo namen sa Seoul.Sana ganito rin ang nakukuha nating speed sa Pinas .

  13. emignatius says:

    Parang sinabi lang na magkakaroon na tayo ng bullet train pero mas mabilis lang ng kaunti sa MRT at mula Mall of Asia hangang Monumento lang, ehehe.

  14. jmr says:

    I’m using the SMART Bro Rocket, and I’m able to browse using the P10/30 minutes rate or even UNLISURF. Even with unlisurf or the regular rate, I can get 6mbps. I get 9mbps spikes, but I’ve never sustained them.

    I never used the stupid P200 for 180MB. It just sucks! Stream one or two HD videos, and your 180 MB is consumed.

  15. watrboy says:

    Hmmm mukhang totoo ata ito.. dito sa amin sa Malolos Bulacan, merong underground drilling silang ginagawa.. tinanong ko fiber optic daw.. going to the Smart Wireless Station dito… Meron ding kinakabit na bagong wired, sabi nung mga nagkakabit Smart din Sya.. Wired, mukhang tatapatan nila ang globe broadband dito..

  16. estong says:

    talaga 9mbps maximum mo sa smart rocket? saan area mo? anong signal mo 3G? ang bilis! sana kahit 1mbps lang Globe tattoo ko ayos na sa akin.
    kung ayos na signal sa amin ng smart, mag smart na ako.

  17. fatal.moves says:

    hspa+ really helped me.. i’m using huawei e353 and i’m using smart for my network, and it gives me good speed (2mbps up).. i never experienced having less than 2mbps speed.. however after a week having an excellent speed.. it gives me headache figuring out why it suddenly gives me intermittent connection.. it always gives me RTO(Request Timed Out), and as a result it gives me a hanging webpage.. this happened in the 2nd week of december (during holiday).. so i assumed that its only because of the holiday season.. however, until at this very point, it gives me an intermittent connection.. :( its frustrating because i thought this investment i did for my internet connection will work perfectly.. haaaaay.. i’m contented with the speed. however, the signal is unstable..

  18. sheijin says:

    Been a subscriber of Tattoo Superstick (5-7mbps) for the past 5 months and I already logged more than 20 NNCs (network complaints). On the average I get 100kbps and it is way too slow for my needs. and ping reply is horrible — 500ms or more? i cannot connect to my office via VPN and websites loads very slow. and that is while i am inside a house, the device is showing full signal strength of HSDPA. I experienced good speed on one very rare occasion where i get 4mbps download speed.

    the customer service isn’t helping, either. imagine, just agreeing with you that you should have good connection when HSDPA signal is full instead of trying to find solution?

  19. estong says:

    same problem, huawei e5 5-7mbps, getting 60kbpsdownload speed and 1000+ ping. globe tattoo plan 999
    technical personnel visited me but nothing happens. he said it was Network Congestion thats why im experiencing slow browsing. and it will took long time for the management to add infrastractue to handle large volume of subscriber. imagine, 1month of slow browsing and the end of that, Nothing really happens, and its Globe decision if they will enhance the system.

  20. Unknown says:

    anu yan dial up? 40 kbps lang ,,,hahaha

  21. BRO KEN says:


  22. makito says:

    Am using smartbro plug it postpaid so far ok naman sya pag nasa bundok ako 1.76mbps ang average speed pero sa bayan HSDPA pero 10-150 kbps lang!

  23. maurag says:

    eto speedtest result ng smartbro plug-it plan 999 http://www.speedtest.net/result/1871900726.png in fairness na upgrade na talaga ang speed ng smart pwede na kahit 3G compared 5 years ago GPRS lang tapos naging 387kbps. Its worth paying. Di ako masyadong nagrereklamo. Lets see if smart LTE could be better internet. Much better siguro kung bababaan nila ang monthly service fee :)

  24. Troylo says:

    I live right under one of the base towers and get a stunning 20kbps d/l with a strong connection. the rocket was the worst investment i’ve ever made. it started out blazing fast and I even convinced a friend to buy one. then slowly over months they both get something like 20kbps maximum download speed now. save your money, start reading books and get a pen-pal. smart is not ready to provide much internet. ahhh I just disconnect again. but okej, used to it.

  25. braces says:

    WOW just what I was searching for. Came here by searching
    for Braces

  26. Wah says:

    Smart LTE is biggest joke in PH telco industry. WTH, they can’t even provide a decent reliable Internet service to their Smart Bro-ken clients, considering that most of these clients only have 512 kbps. Mabuti na lang at naka-post ako, on and off ang Smart Bro-ken dito sa Cavite. AMP!

  27. Wah says:

    Smart LTE is the biggest joke in PH telco industry. WTH, they can’t even provide a decent reliable Internet service to their Smart Bro-ken clients, considering that most of these clients only have 512 kbps. Mabuti na lang at naka-post ako, on and off ang Smart Bro-ken dito sa Cavite. AMP!

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  29. ren says:

    LTE is a lie epecially to Smart Telecommunication…How come it become 100% LTE??? they did not even upgrade their other tower to 3G…there are a lot of places where Smart 3G is still not yet available…You are a BIG lier….

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