We attended the 1st Philippine LTE Forum earlier this afternoon which was hosted by Smart Communications. Different speakers from various technology companies presented various case studies of LTE being utilized to inspire the audience to come up with their own ideas on how to maximize it.
The speakers were:
- Mr. Dirk Wolter–Chief Technology Officer, Mobility, Cisco Systems, Inc.
- Ms. Carol Wan–Director, Business Consulting, Huawei Technologies Company Ltd.
- Mr. Yoshinori Yasui– Senior Technical Advisor (Smart), NTT Docomo
- Mr. Albert Nombres–Head of Solutions, Nokia Siemens Networks
- Mr. Lawrence Macalintal—Chief Technology Officer, Ericsson Telecommunications, Inc.
The event was hosted by Smart Communications’ PR Head, Mon Isberto. Also present was the Smart Marketing Manager for LTE, Ron Molina.
(Note from the EIC: To those who haven’t heard of LTE yet, it’s super fast internet that can go up to 100Mbps download speed. We were part of Smart’s Closed Beta and we constantly hit more than 20Mbps DL in Greenhills.)
One of the highlights of the afternoon was when DOCOMO’s Yoshinori Yasui shared how successful LTE was in Japan (4.3M subscribers so far for 2012). He talked about the rapid growth as well as and different types of content and promotions they were running to push adoption of the technology. One fascinating case was how they created an app that would automatically translate the japanese SMS messages of the sender to english on the phone of the receiver, and vice-versa. Yasui also shared that DOCOMO offered bundled cloud storage and content bundles that would stream into the phone (TV episodes, anime, movies, music, etc).
SMART LTE launches on 8.25.12?
During the Q&A portion of the forum, local IT press persistently asked about when we can actually see LTE launching in the Philippines. Smart’s Marketing Manager for LTE, Ron Molina, eventually relented and gave three numbers: “8, 25, 12”. While we don’t have official confirmation yet, we think that this is probably the launch date of SMART LTE here in the Philippines.
Now that we have the launch date, there are only two big questions left. How much and with what devices? Based on the presentation of DOCOMO, LTE is a premium product. DOCOMO charges roughly Php2,650 per month for 3GB of data. That’s enough to ensure smooth mobile internet but I doubt 3GB will be good for usage at home.
As for the devices, since we’re using the same LTE band as Japan all we have to do is check what LTE-capable phones are there and those are the units that will probably be offered by Smart locally.
We’ll let you guys know if we get more information about SMART LTE but so far that’s all that we know about it. Just keep checking this space for more updates. 🙂
PS: Here’s the link to SMART’s LTE section on their website.