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Smart is first SE Asian operator to deploy Ericsson’s Antenna-Integrated Radio solution

Smart is first SE Asian operator to deploy Ericsson’s Antenna-Integrated Radio solution

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart)  recently announced that it has deployed the Antenna-Integrated Radio (AIR) solution, a product of world-leading communications technology and services vendor Ericsson, becoming the first operator in the Southeast Asian region to do so.

The advanced AIR solution ensures the highly efficient and smooth introduction of elements of GSM, 3G/WCDMA and fourth-generation (4G) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technologies into Smart’s existing networks, by simplifying and reducing installation lead times while increasing coverage.

With the solution in place, Smart’s wireless network now allows Filipinos to be abreast with the rest of the world in terms of wireless technology, in a more efficient and timely manner.

Rolando G. Peña, head of technology at Smart and PLDT, says: “The deployment of the AIR solution once again puts Smart ahead of its peers in the region. We expect the vast improvement in coverage and swiftness of installation times to greatly benefit our subscribers, especially as we see increasing usage of mobile Internet in our network.”

Smart’s parent company PLDT recently reported how mobile Internet usage continues to grow strongly among the mobile subscribers of its wireless brands Smart and Sun Cellular, with PLDT’s mobile Internet revenues increasing by 49% as of end-June 2013, compared to a year ago.

This increasing use of mobile data among its subscribers is generally regarded as one of the outcomes of PLDT’s proactive, synergized and on-time network transformation initiatives, creating the country’s most extensive and robust network with over 9,835 cell sites, 15,116 cellular/mobile broadband base stations, and 2,898 fixed wireless broadband-enabled base stations, supported by over 71,000 kilometers of fiber optic cabling, serving over 73.4 million subscribers.

“Network solutions like AIR allow our already supercharged infrastructure to become even more future-proof, and able to serve the demands of present and more advanced technologies, such as LTE-Advanced,” added Peña.

Smart, already the country’s leader in current LTE with over 1,000 sites across almost 180 cities and municipalities including the entire Metro Manila, had recently successfully tested LTE-Advanced. Deployed by operators in South Korea, the United Kingdom, and some South American operators, LTE-A is a next-generation mobile broadband technology which can deliver data rates in excess of 200 megabits per second (mbps) up to a possible 700mbps, in trials in Metro Manila and Davao City.

According to is Peña, “the successful trials prove the readiness of the Smart network for the most advanced technologies, and the AIR solution can only serve to further strengthen this network.”

To date, Ericsson has commercially deployed the AIR solution for both SMART’s GSM and LTE networks, and tests show an improvement of as much as 73 percent in 3G coverage when using AIR. Ericsson’s AIR has fewer units and fewer interconnections compared to traditional site solutions, allowing a new standard or a new frequency band to be introduced easily.

Elie Hanna, President and Country Manager for Ericsson Philippines and Pacific Islands, says: “The market is experiencing a tremendous take off in mobile broadband and user expectations for speed and coverage are increasing the demands placed on networks. In order to cope with future capacity demands, Ericsson has a clearly defined small cell strategy that the AIR architecture is part of. When comparing 3G AIR with traditional 3G Radio Base Stations, there is a marked improvement in 3G coverage when using AIR. In addition, AIR simplifies and reduces installation lead times.”

The innovative integration of the antenna unit into the radio unit is the first of its kind in the global telecommunications industry. Compact design and a multi-standard solution ensure the highly efficient and smooth introduction of new technologies in both 3G and 4G. A new standard or a new frequency band can easily be introduced by simply adding AIR and swapping the existing antenna.

Source: Smart Communications

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