Smart maintains growth in mobile data business

Smart Communications has sustained its growth in mobile data business as it posted revenues amounting to P25.5 billion in 2016, increasing by 26 percent from the previous year’s P20.2 billion.

Its mobile revenues rose by 42 percent year on year to P17 billion.

The telco company has been meeting the demands of its subscribers for data services due to availability of more smartphones, data offers bundled with popular digital content and services, and upgrade on its mobile network.

“The shift to data and digital services continues to gain momentum. With access to PLDT’s extensive fixed line network, Smart is rolling out the country’s fastest mobile Internet network to address the growing demand of our subscribers for data services at home, their schools and offices and while on the go,” Eric R. Alberto, PLDT executive vice president and chief revenue officer said in a statement.

Smart has heightened its expansion of LTE and 3G data networks within three years through utilizing low-band frequencies such as 700 megahertz (MHz) for high speed LTE services.

The network rollout program has been completed in Metro Davao where subscribers now consistently enjoy average data download speeds of over 20 megabits per second (Mbps). The LTE upgrade is now underway in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, where improvements in data speeds are being experienced in areas where new LTE facilities have already been installed.

Higher data speeds of 80 to 90 Mbps have been registered in selected areas where LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) facilities have been activated. LTE-A can deliver higher data rates by combining two or more frequency bands using carrier aggregation technology.

“Our LTE roll-out highlights the opportunity for people to experience significantly much better internet service by shifting to LTE smartphones, particularly those devices that use the 700 Mhz frequency,” Alberto stated.

Meanwhile, the mobile data usage of Smart subscribers improved to 148,000 terabytes last year, 49 percent higher than the 2015 figure.

Alberto also said the rise in mobile data traffic highlights the popularity of data usage as well as the potential to grow mobile data revenues particularly mobile Internet.

Data revenues accounted for a third of the wireless business’ revenue mix last year, from only a quarter in 2015, as it edged out voice calls and text messaging as the largest revenue source for the wireless business for the first time.

About half of Smart’s 63 million subscribers already own smartphones by end of 2016. (PNA)