Smart announced that their LTE will be launched this Saturday, August 25. The pricing is not a secret anymore, Php3,500 per month with a 10GB cap and this already includes the Php8,000-worth LTE dongle.
Sure a lot of people are excited. It will be the first commercially available LTE service in the country so that’s a big thing. However, when reality sinks in, do you really need it? The 42Mbps speed? I know you want it, I would. I have experienced latching onto an LTE connection and can’t contain my glee on the download speed I’m getting until I ran out of things to download and view online. But do you really need it to actually pay for it?
I’m going to list my observations based on information about the service currently available right now.
- Php3,500 for 10GB. The price is fair in my opinion, but countries like Singapore offer it for far more cheaper at Php2.3k (SGD 69.90) for the same amount of data. But I would say that a lot of Filipinos aren’t ready yet to pay Php3,500 for internet with limitations. Maybe if Smart will switch you to HSPA once you used that 10GB before the month ends, then it will be more attractive.
- 42Mbps speed is no joke. During our beta test, speeds definitely reach past that number so that’s a safe speed for Smart. And with LTE, you won’t be sharing the same bandwidth with 3G users, and LTE’s network is unlikely to get crowded.
- 10GB cap! How easy can you go through that? With 42Mbps it will probably take half a day, or two max if you run out of things to download. A 40-minute TV show episode in 720p HD reaches 1GB already, what more if it’s Full HD? However, Smart is doing this to prevent strain in their network just like how other LTE providers in the world use the same 10GB cap (and an unlimited plan as well).
- Lack of HD online content. Sure LTE sounds good in other countries because they have a lot of HD-quality streaming media available to them.
- Lack of LTE handset should not be an issue. The only reason why you want LTE on your handset is to share the speedy internet to other devices. Other than that, I don’t know why you would want to watch Full HD streaming videos on small screens.
- Eats power. Having used the LTE dongle, I can definitely say that utilizing an LTE network really eats power fast so the only time you would want to connect to LTE is if you’re near a power source.
- LTE as standalone. Simply based on the previous two, I hope Smart will offer their LTE as a standalone service only like in Europe and not like what AT&T in US is doing bundling the service with phones.
- Limited LTE coverage. Well we don’t know this yet but sites during the beta test are quite limited and the range is a bit short. Although they said that they expanded the coverage in the metro, we”ll find out more the extent during the launching to see if this is still an issue.
For what’s it worth, kudos to Smart for being the first to make LTE available to Filipinos. The 42Mbps is good… really good but there’s still the application vs cost of getting into LTE. Php3,500 a month is a lot if there’s not a lot of practical application for LTE in our country yet. Maybe if I can watch my TV’s HD channels in my laptop while I’m mobile then count me excited.