Now, the race is on for the telephone company (telco) who can cover most of the country faster with super-fast fourth generation (4G) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technology.
Already, Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has made its LTE service accessible in several areas across Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao as it fires up new LTE cell sites and now covers a total of 46 cities and 69 municipalities nationwide.
Smart's latest round of expansion is "the largest and most expansive" since the telco launched the service commercially in August, 2012, according to Smart Broadband Internet and Data Services Head Lloyd Manaloto.
"Just a couple of weeks ago we said that LTE has outpaced 3G in terms of initial deployment," he explained. "The simultaneous introduction of LTE around the country is proof of that."
Several areas in Davao City in Mindanao, Iloilo City, Cebu City, Mandaue City and Bacolod City in Visayas and Baguio City, Laoag City, San Fernando City, Cabanatuan City, Urdaneta City, Antipolo City, Olongapo City, Tagaytay City, and Dagupan City in Luzon now have access to Smart's LTE service.
Rival Globe Telecom has also activated more LTE sites across the archipelago recently.
After offering the service in Makati, Globe bolstered its LTE infrastructure in key cities of Metro Manila - Pasig City, Quezon City, Taguig, City of Manila, Muntinlupa City, as well as Cebu City and Boracay in Malay, Aklan in the Visayas.
Within these sites, the telco switched-on its LTE signal in major avenues, villages and subdivisions, business districts, upscale malls, hotels, busy commercial zones, government offices, schools, sporting arenas and hospitals.
Globe wants subscribers go around contiguous areas without having to lose their LTE signal, President & CEO Ernest Cu stressed.
The telco's LTE expansion will cover more ground across the Philippines as the first phase of its modernization nears completion and will be supported by the ongoing rollout of over 12,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable spanning the archipelago.
"We have continued to expand our LTE coverage as we focus on large, contiguous areas, instead of "pocket activations" and "hot spots" to ensure greater and more stable coverage for customers," Globe Chief Technical Advisor Robert Tan elaborated further.