Tourists and residents attending the Sarangani Bay Festival will enjoy much improved mobile data experience as PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) boosts connectivity in the area in time for the province’s much-awaited event. As part of its commitment to cover 90% of the country’s cities and municipalities with mobile data service by the end of this year, Smart has fired up LTE-Advanced and carrier aggregation technology in the province to improve the mobile internet experience of residents and tourists, especially those expected to attend the sporting and music events during the festival. After LTE-A was rolled-out last month, residents have reported experiencing download speeds of over 40 Mbps in Gumasa, Sarangani Bay. “With Smart’s LTE-A network now in place in Sarangani, attendees of the province’s biggest festival can stay connected to loved ones via messaging apps, share their experiences in real time via social media, or learn about new ways to protect and preserve marine life,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering. In the first quarter of 2018, Smart installed 1,300 more LTE base stations across the country, raising the total count to over 10,000 nationwide. These base stations use various radio frequency bands, specifically the 700 MHz band for better coverage and indoor penetration, and the 1800 MHz and 2100 MHz for additional capacity. Smart aims to increase the number of LTE base stations to about 17,700 by the end of 2018, and raise the number of LTE-equipped cell sites to over 6,800. The installation of multiple LTE base stations in existing cell sites paves the way for the activation of LTE-A, which can deliver faster mobile data services to customers. Through LTE-A’s feature called carrier aggregation, much higher mobile data speeds are achieved by combining the capacity of two up to five frequency bands. “By boosting connectivity in tourist havens like Sarangani, we hope to help local tourism flourish and open up more opportunities for other local businesses, who can now be at par with their counterparts outside of the province,” Tamayo added. “This is part of Smart’s commitment to deliver world-class internet service to more Filipinos in all corners of the country.” Other summer hotspots recently connected by Smart LTE-A include Batanes, Sagada and Baguio, to name a few. Parent company PLDT has committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation. Capital expenditures are expected to reach P58 billion this year. In the past, Smart has also been supporting Sarangani’s environmental campaign that pushes for the responsible use and protection of the 230-kilometer Sarangani bay, which is home to diverse marine life. Sarangani is popular for its bangus and tuna. Now on its 11th year, the Sarangani Bay Festival is mounted by the Department of Tourism and the local government of Sarangani and will feature various sports competitions, fitness activities, environmental advocacies, nightly shows, concerts and a music festival.
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