Pardon the overflowing happiness. In a country where a 10Mbps wired connection is stuff that dreams are made of, getting wireless-connection speeds of more than 50Mbps in the Philippines is like shitting gold. It doesn’t help that the first Smart Evolution LTE dongle (Huawei E392) I got turned out to be “defective.” It couldn’t get any signal at “proven” LTE hotspots.
Now with the replacement, it’s a different story altogether. It gave me speeds of more than 60Mbps when I first tested it at Jump Experience Center, SM Megamall. Crazy, really, because even though Smart’s Evolution LTE is designed to deliver speeds of up to 76Mbps (up to 100Mbps “in the near future”), the Huawei dongle lent to beta testers has a maximum information rate of only 42Mbps.
To give you an idea of how fast 60Mbps is… it took me 5 minutes to download a 550MB file. Try doing that with your wired connection at home, and you’ll most likely finish in more than an hour. Too bad there’s something wrong with the video I took at the time.
I got the fastest recorded speed of 80.19Mbps at the second floor of
Globe country’s Greenbelt’s parking garage, the one near Conti’s, McDonald’s, and AIM [Asian Institute of Management]. However, your best bet for the best browsing/downloading/uploading experience is still at Megamall.
I went to UP Diliman, Ateneo, and Tiendesitas (I’ve placed the complete list of LTE hotspots at the bottom of this page), but sniffing out a whiff of LTE signal in those areas was a challenge. Until now, none of the beta testers have successfully found that elusive signal there. I just keep in mind that “optimal experience happens 100-200 meters within the LTE coverage”—at least at this stage.
So when will this be commercially available?
Smart’s official answer: “No date has yet been set for this.” Expect it next year still. Take note that while Evolution LTE may not have a price yet, it’s going to be a premium service which will be initially available in Smart Bro Postpaid. Not surprising because it is up to 20x faster than the current 3G network (up to 2Mbps). I do hope that it will be well within my budget.
I’ll be wardriving again soon, so do check this site often. Till then.
Areas with LTE coverage:
(Update, December 28, 2011, 4 p.m.: Smart provided us with this map of activated LTE sites.)
1. Cubao – Coverage for majority of Araneta Center, Aurora Boulevard cor EDSA, Farmers Plaza, MRT Cubao Station, Farmers Market, LRT 2 Araneta Cubao Station, and Gateway Mall
2. 15th Avenue Parc COD Reloc – Coverage for majority of Araneta Center, Aurora Blvd., Manhattan Parkway and Parkview, Isetann, Rustan’s, Shoemart, and Shopwise Cubao and Ali Mall
3. Ateneo – Coverage for majority of Ateneo campus and part of Katipunan Ave.
4. Magnolia – Coverage for Aurora Blvd., LRT 2 Betty Go-Belmonte 2 Station, Villa Carolina Townhouses, Gilmore Commercial Plaza and IT Center, and St. Paul College QC
5. University of the Philippines, Diliman – Coverage for UP Diliman campus, part of Don Mariano Marcos and Commonwealth Ave., New Era University, and New Era General Hospital
6. Singalong – Coverage for portions of President Quirino and Taft Avenues, LRT 1 Quirino Station, Philippine Women’s University, Philippine Christian University, and J. Nakpil, Remedios, San Andres, and Leon Guinto Streets
7. Manila P. Noval – Portions of España, Andalucia, and Dapitan Sts., and PRC
8. University of Santo Tomas – Coverage for UST campus, stretch of Dapitan St. from AH Lacson St., and Perpetual Help College
9. Acropolis Car Park Arcade – Coverage for Greenhills, OB Montessori, Promenade, portions of Annapolis and Eisenhower Sts., Club Filipino, and Club Filipino Drive
10. Wack Wack – Coverage for Greenhills Shopping Center, parts of Greenhills East, Greenhills West, and Wack Wack Greenhills
11. Annapolis – Coverage for Annapolis St., portion of Camp Crame (West Crame), MRT Santolan-Annapolis Station, and Greenhills Northeast
12. Meralco Ortigas – Coverage for Meralco main office
13. Ugong – Coverage for Silver City Auto Mall, SM Supercenter Pasig, Tiendesitas, part of Pasig Industrial Subd., and Doña Julia Vargas-E.Rodriguez Jr. Ave. intersection
14. PLDT Greenhills – Test eNodeB (?)
15. Xavierville – Portions of A. Bonifacio Ave. and Aurora Blvd., Alta Vista Village, Philippine School of Business Administration, and Villa Aurora Townhomes
16. SM Mall of Asia, North Macro – Outdoor coverage near SM MOA North Parking area, which includes outdoor portions of One E-com Center and San Miguel by the Bay
17. Makati, Greenbelt – Coverage for outdoor parts of AIM along Benavidez and Greenbelt 5 along Paseo de Roxas, some outdoor portions of Greenbelt 3 along Esperanza St., street-level coverage along Arnaiz Ave. near the corner of Paseo de Roxas
18. Mandaluyong, SM Megamall – Coverage for Jump, SM Megamall
19. Filinvest City – Coverage for parts of Research Institute for Tropical Medicine and some portions of The Palms Country Club
20. PLDT Wise Tower – Coverage for Smart Towers 1 and 2
21. RC Building Pico – Indoor coverage for Ramon Cojuangco Bldg. and outdoor parts along Paseo de Roxas from Makati Shangri-La to Greenbelt 1
22. VA Rufino, – Coverage for outdoor parts of Rufino Bldg. and outdoor parts along Ayala Ave. from PBCom Bldg. to Salcedo, and outdoor parts along Dela Rosa St. from Rufino St. to Salcedo
23. Elsie Gaches – Coverage for outdoor portions of Molito facing Alabang-Zapote Road, Alabang Town Center parking beside McDonald’s, and outdoor portions of Villa Donata Subd., Alabang