Smart LTE Road Test!
SMART commercially launched their LTE mobile broadband service last Saturday. During the event they had several stations where people could do speed tests and most of the time you’d see 45-48Mbps download speeds. I was definitely impressed but I wanted to see how it would perform outside. Fortunately I was able to read Jayvee’s blog about the reactivation of the Smart LTE beta test sims (ahihihi). This gave me the opportunity to take the Smart LTE dongle for a spin. Here are the results.
Greenhills, San Juan
The best results I got from speed tests were actually in my condo along Eisenhower street in Greenhills. It beat the crap out of my DSL and HSPA+ dongle as it consistently registered more than 20 Mbps for majority of the day. This is actually better than the speeds I got during the beta test (peak was 15-17Mbps back then). There were instances that the speeds dipped to 10 Mbps but for the most part it was above 20.
So what can you do with a 20 Mbps connection? Most people will probably use it for downloading “stuff” via torrents. At the speed we had in Greenhills, we averaged 1.3-1.4 Mbps DL for torrents. That’s ridiculously fast! You can literally get 700MB files in just a few minutes.
The speed held up even when we tried downloading via iTunes, Steam, and big e-mail attachments. Streaming HD content on Youtube was also no problem. Definitely impressive! Unfortunately you can’t do this often when the 10GB monthly cap gets implemented after October 25. The good news though is that LTE is unlimited until October 25 so if ever you decide to subscribe you have 2 months to download all the stuff you want, lol.
How about in other parts of Greenhills?
If you go to the actual mall there are some spots that don’t have LTE signal. There’s good coverage though in Promenade and the speed test results average around 10-12 Mbps. With bad signal we still go around 3-4 Mbps (deep inside V Mall).
This is where it gets interesting. When we do speedtests outdoors or in shops at the ground floor of buildings the speeds hit 15-20 Mbps. However once we go up to the office it goes down to around 3-6 Mbps. That’s obviously still better than our crappy 800 Kbps office connection (lol) but it’s “low” compared to what you can get outside the building. Just to illustrate the difference — When I was downloading the latest episode of Suits from iTunes yesterday I was initially hitting 3-4 Mbps DL (speed test) while on my desk in the office (we’re on the 17th floor). I went down the elevator and out of the building, held the laptop while standing on the sidewalk, and plugged the LTE dongle. Speed test gave 19 Mbps DL. Rawr!
UPDATE: I did another speed test near the window of the 17th floor in our office and the speed test results increased to 10-11 Mbps. Lol.
Performance depends on your location and the network coverage
Based on this informal road test, Smart LTE can definitely deliver crazy download and upload speeds but it really depends on your location. So far the highest we’ve ever reached is 25 Mbps here in Greenhills. I heard that Smart LTE does well though in Makati City so we’ll definitely drop by the area within the week to do more tests.
We’ll try to post another road test article within the week featuring different areas. For more information about Smart LTE, visit the official product site here.
Note: The Smart LTE dongle we used for this article is the beta testing device and not an actual commercial unit. I’m not even sure if this is the same model that Smart will offer.