Leading wireless services provider Smart Communications announced that it has significantly extended the reach of its Third Generation (3G) network to more cities and municipalities nationwide, further improving coverage in major urban centers as well as provincial areas.
In just three months since it started its 3G network rollout, Smart has achieved 3G presence in around 60 cities, accounting for slightly over 50% of the total number of cities nationwide. Over twenty municipalities outside Metro Manila are also now covered by Smart 3G.
Smart was the first and is currently the only mobile operator in the Philippines to publicly offer 3G services since it started opening its network on a free trial basis to its subscribers with 3G capable handsets in selected key cities last February 14. The launch came in just less than two months after the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) awarded Smart its 3G license in late December 2005.
"This is an affirmation of our commitment to the public to establish the country's first nationwide 3G coverage at the shortest possible time. We are doing for Smart 3G what we did first for our analog and then for our GSM network infrastructures." said Napoleon L. Nazareno, Smart president and CEO.
"Now that we are aggressively expanding our 3G network rollout, more and more subscribers will be able to enjoy services under Smart 3G such as video calling, video streaming, high speed Internet browsing and downloading of special 3G content as an added benefit to our wide array of existing GSM services." said Rolando G. Pea, Smart's network services division head.
"Our engineers are working round the clock to ensure that more areas will be covered by Smart's robust 3G network," he added.
3G is shorthand for the next generation of mobile communications networks running on the WCDMA (wideband code division multiple access) platform. This technology allows for faster data transmission speeds from 114 kbps up to 2 Mbps, making possible high-speed data communications and mobile multimedia services such as video conferencing, audio streaming and mobile internet.
Smart's 3G network roll-out for 2006 will step up its drive to provide coverage in majority of the cities and a substantial percentage of municipalities all over the country.
In the last three months, the company has set up 3G facilities in its cell sites in business centers, malls, schools, highways, hospitals, hotels, resorts, and airports as well as residential areas.
Simultaneous with its network expansion, Smart has also been conducting enhancement trials on 3G. Last March 24, Smart successfully completed the first data test calls in the Philippines using an enhanced hi-speed version of 3G cellular technology called High Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA). HSDPA allows data calls with transfer rates at least three times faster than the 3G networks currently being deployed in the country
On top of available streaming of movie and video clips, Smart has also been beefing up its 3G content offerings with new video streaming services such as real-time traffic monitoring of major thoroughfares and TV shows. Smart is currently in discussions with content providers and other TV and cable channels for syndication of content.
"By extending our Smart 3G coverage to more and more areas, we are hoping to help stimulate take up of this new service," Pea said.