Smart Communications is laying down the cards on its “4G” LTE network before the August 25 launch. Now we have the telco’s pilot offer in the form of Smart LTE Plan 3500, which comes with peerless wireless speeds of up to 42Mbps, one Smart-branded LTE dongle, and a monthly P3,500 fee to go along with a bandwidth cap of 10GB.
Besides hosting a countdown timer, Smart’s dedicated LTE site now boasts more useful information, including demo videos and helpful Web links. Still missing is information detailing what happens after subscribers reach the 10GB limit. We guess we’ll know by August 25.
As participants of Smart’s LTE experimental stage, we’d like to share our thoughts on this future-forward wireless technology.
- The company’s latest mobile Internet service is not for “torrenters.” With a 10GB limitation, the Smart LTE Plan 3500 won’t see you downloading all 1080p Avengers-related flicks. This is for people who need fast mobile Internet access when, say, presenting to clients.
- For P3,500, though, Smart’s speedy connection is relatively more affordable than those in other countries.
- United States – P500 for every gigabyte (10GB)
- Japan – P2,100 for 3GB
- As seen in the trend of 2G/3G services in the Philippines, we can expect LTE rates to go down with competition and advancements in telecommunications.
- Take note that SKYbroadband’s 48Mbps and Globe Telecom’s Tattoo Torque’s 50Mbps connections charge you P12,999 and P14,999 each month, respectively. (The two services are DSL-based, meaning both require the traditional wired modem setup.) So again, Smart’s LTE Plan 3500 is still relatively cheap for a premium offer.
- Regardless of the initial subscriber base, we laud Smart for having the balls to push the boundaries of wireless connectivity in the Philippines. Doing so puts the exclamation point in the classic chicken-and-egg debate: “In terms of introducing LTE in the Philippines, should carriers take the lead? Or should they wait for electronics manufacturers to make a move?” We’re tired of hearing this: “We can’t launch LTE-capable devices here because we’re waiting for any of our telcos to launch 4G networks.” Or this: “We’re waiting for manufacturers to introduce their powerful devices in the country.” Just launch it already! And now, it’s going to happen, thanks to Smart. Hopefully, the device makers would follow suit soon enough.
- Consistency, not peak speed, is the key to any premium Internet connection. On any given day, we’d rather pay for something with real-world speeds in the 15-20Mbps range than a 30Mbps service that delivers only 10Mbps on most occasions. We still haven’t seen Smart’s advertised service-reliability numbers. We’re keeping our fingers crossed for a percentage in the 90s.
- All told, if Smart’s newest service sounds good to you, keep in mind that you’d have to check first if the telco’s LTE signal is strong in your household and in locations you’d usually visit. Examples of areas that have proven strong LTE signal are Makati (Greenbelt area) and Greenhills (near Promenade). If the reception’s poor, you should drop your “up to 42Mbps” aspirations altogether. Or at least until Smart stretches its LTE coverage over your most frequented areas.
Taken late last year
- Smart 4G LTE registration page now up; service available at Plan 3500
- Smart LTE commercial launch slated for August 25
- Beta-testing Smart’s Evolution LTE: How fast is it?