Monday, September 22, 2014

Smart LTE Network Upgrade [w/ Actual Speedtest]

As a Smart LTE user, I personally have experienced the actual improvement of LTE signal specifically in our area. Before, I do get LTE signal but only outside the gate and that would be almost useless. I don't know when this year but when I checked, we do get FULL bar LTE signal even inside our living room! Honestly, it rendered our home internet service useless (not literally) because once you go LTE, you'll be spoiled by the speed it can achieve.

A few weeks back, I posted this on my Instagram account:
I was watching car reviews the whole afternoon, in HD with settings on the highest resolution possible. No waiting time, no lags. It was as if I have downloaded the video on my desktop and just clicked play. This was the first time that I fully appreciated the no-waiting, super fast speed and felt like living in a first world country. Really, LTE is meant to be like this and I'm glad that Smart keeps on upgrading and expanding their coverage without feeling any down time at all. 

The day iOS8 was released, the first thing I did was to update my phone. Since I now have Smart LTE inside the house, I tethered my phone and used it to download iOS8. To my disappointment, it said there "download time: 24 minutes". After a few more seconds, it lowered to 18 minutes (wasn't able to take a photo of it already). Imagine how spoiled I was using Smart LTE, downloading iOS8 worth 1.1GB under 20 minutes while others got this:

That's almost 1/5 of the download total yet this user got 40 more minutes left. Some even reported to have almost 2 hours waiting time. I stopped complaining on my 20-minute waiting time.

Here are a few of my uploaded speed tests for the past week:

Using my Smart Bro LTE Pocket WiFi

Using my iPhone 5s with Smart LTE signal

Early this week, they announced that they are further expanding their LTE coverage. This is in preparation for the launch of LTE-A in the VERY near future as they hinted. LTE-A has the capability to reach (as already tested) over 200Mbps. That would've probably cut my 20-minute waiting time to 3~5 minutes? 

LTE-A as they mentioned also uses the same LTE sites but with upgrades. This makes LTE-A rollout easier. For those wondering if LTE currently has a cap, no. I am a testament to it. They do not cap nor limit usage but like any other telcos out there, they implement FUP. Just yesterday, I went over 1GB in a span of 3 hours and it was still working fine after that. But honestly, I have never been cut off due to over usage. They are quite lenient in implementing the FUP.

Here are some official released facts from Smart:
> Smart is deploying a total of 1,400 new LTE sites, comprised of both FD-LTE and TD-LTE installations, to bring its total LTE footprint to more than 3,400 sites across the country.

> Smart is beefing up its mobile network infrastructure by adding 400 more mobile LTE sites, majority of which will be in Metro Manila. This is part of the continuing roll out program for its LTE facilities.

> To complement its mobile LTE services, it is also rolling out 1,000 additional TD-LTE sites to support its fixed wireless service to homes. This will bring high-speed mobile broadband speeds to more cities and municipalities in Bulacan, Cavite, Cebu, Laguna, Pampanga, Rizal, Metro Manila among many others.

> They have already fired up the second LTE Advanced network recently, which is in Mactan Island Cebu. The first one initially went live at the JUMP Experience Center in SM Megamall last August.

> All this was made possible because the PLDT group rolled out more than 90,000km of fiber optic cables around the country. It also modernized its mobile network to make more than 10,000 4G sites enabling it to quickly roll out LTE services via a simple software update.
(For more info about their latest, check out:

Given all that information, we can all expect that very soon, we will all feel the increase in speed and expanded coverage. Overall, the LTE experience is what the actual subscribers personally experience. It's not about hearing how far you can reach or how fast you can go. All that will be useless unless the subscriber really feels and experiences the actual blazing fast speeds the telcos are offering.

In the coming weeks, I'll be doing more speed tests and check if Smart really is improving. Also, to have a an idea of the LTE speed from Globe, I'll make a way on how I can have a unit for me to test the speed of Globe LTE and do a comparison of both. For Sun? They also have LTE. Let's see if I can do one for Sun as well.

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