Smart Communications Incorporated said that it will commercially launch the fourth generation (4G) wireless technology called LTE "very soon" which will allow subscribers broadband speed of up to 100 megabytes per second, or roughly less than a minute downloading of a 3 gigabyte movie file.
The LTE technology offers speed of up to 100 Mbps, much faster compared to 4G technology using HSPA + which only offers up to 27.8 Mbps and WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access) up to 23.03 Mbps broadband speed. To experience full LTE, Smart official said they will be launching mobile devices capable to accept the LTE signals for faster internet connections.
Using the LTE, subscribers can do voices, SMS, WAP, MMS, video streaming , video call, 50 Mbps Data DL, 20 Mbps Data UL, HD Video Streaming, rich media app and man to machine apps. Initially, Smart targets to offer the service in 30 selected key cities and provinces as part of its strategy to improve the broadband services in the country.
However, Smart official refused to disclose the price of the service but it will definitely be more expensive than the ordinary broadband dongles in the market now. The LTE deployment requires service providers to build new base station and infrastructures as its entirely different platform of access channels and transmission backbone compared in 3G, HSPA and WiMAX which just require an upgrade and additional software.
He added that the bulk of its capex for the next two years was allocated for these new services. Part of the investment was to put up additional 481 WIMAX , 90 HSPA and more than 1,000 2G cellsites until next year. The company has various manufacturers for the new technology which include Huawei Ltd , Ericson , Nokia and Siemens.
Smart and its parent company, PLDT, has a combined broadband subscriber base of over 2 million as of 2010, up by 25 percent compared to the previous year. Of the total subscribers 1.4 million are SmartBro users and the remaining are PLDT MyDSL. The LTE data services can be accessed using USB dongles attached to laptops or networks, or, via LTE-powered wireless routers providing WiFi coverage.