Leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has launched the Philippines’ first and only prepaid LTE service for LTE-capable handsets, making the fourth-generation (4G) service accessible to a wider segment of the market.
The telco launched its first commercial LTE services in 2012, making data connectivity speed of up to 42 Mbps available to its postpaid mobile phone and broadband subscribers. In April this year, Smart announced the availability of the first prepaid LTE SIMs for broadband devices such as dongles and tablets.
“With the launch of the Smart Prepaid LTE SIM for mobile phones, we are making it possible for majority of our subscribers to experience the difference and benefits of LTE, while on the go,” said Jane Basas, head of Smart’s prepaid business group. “We can now give our prepaid subscribers the complete package – allowing them to have ‘lightning-fast’ mobile Internet connectivity, while being able to call and text - all through one SIM.”
With more than 57 million mobile subscribers, Smart currently has the biggest share in the country’s predominantly prepaid mobile market. With the launch of the Smart Prepaid LTE SIM, Smart expects to expand the LTE service to the vast majority of its subscriber base by offering affordable LTE bucket offers, and soon bundling the LTE prepaid service with entry and mid-level LTE-capable handsets.
“Aside from new subscribers, we are also eyeing current users of LTE-capable phones who don’t maximize the powers of their handsets because they still use non-LTE prepaid SIMs,” said Basas. “With the LTE service being on prepaid, it will be easier for these users to upgrade SIMs and unlock the full potential of their devices.”
Some of the current LTE-capable phones in the market today are the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia V, Nokia Lumia 920, Huawei Ascend D1 and ZTE 82.
The Smart Prepaid LTE SIM is now available at select Smart Stores and various telco tiangges in key cities nationwide. Existing Smart subscribers can also upgrade to LTE by purchasing the LTE SIM at Smart Stores, retaining their mobile number.
The Smart Prepaid LTE SIM for mobile phones is available in two variants – the dual-cut micro SIM for LTE-capable handsets with regular or micro SIM slots, which is priced at P40.00 and includes 35 free SMS to any network while the nano SIM for the iPhone 5 which is priced at P100 includes P50 load. Both can be loaded with Smart’s prepaid LTE packages or buckets which offer unlimited LTE browsing for 1 day, 7 days or 30 days.
The one-day offer costs P50, the week-long package costs P299 while the 30-day package costs P995. These can be availed by simply texting LTE 50, LTE 299 or LTE 995 to 2200.
With Smart’s ongoing network expansion, Smart LTE is now available in over a thousand sites spread across almost 180 cities and municipalities across the country, including the province of Rizal, and areas in North Luzon, South Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. Smart LTE also covers all 17 cities and municipalities of Caloocan, Las Piñas, Makati, Malabon, Mandaluyong, Manila, Marikina, Muntinlupa, Navotas, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig, Pateros, Quezon City, San Juan, Taguig, and Valenzuela.
The increasing number of areas covered allows Smart subscribers using LTE-compatible devices to wirelessly access the Internet at speeds of up to 42 Mbps. This means enjoying movies or videos, uploading or downloading photos, among others, on their mobile device with no lag, no buffering, and no delays.
Smart’s expanded LTE coverage is supported by over 71,000 kilometers of total fiber footprint, inclusive of 7,200 kilometers of international submarine fiber, and over 4,000 kilometers of domestic submarine fiber – the most extensive in the country - enabling it and its parent company PLDT to deliver the best data services at the speed of light.