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Smart LTE, why you should not be too excited

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.


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  • PoorKano

    Why get high speed when it eliminates the purpose of having high speed.
    After streaming a few hours on Twitch or Netflix (using vpn) or downloading a game from Steam, I’d be worried to even use Facebook for the rest of the month.
    Globe 3G has a daily limit of 800mb a day (24gb a month). It’s much cheaper and suites me much better while waiting for cable providers to build more of their 3rd-gen fiber optics outside the rich peoples homes in Makati.

    • aze

      may cap pla ang globe per day, muntik na ko mag globe ah, buti sa msart wala or ams mataas siguro sa 800mb kasi minsan napapansin ko lagpas 1gb na an downlaod ko eh ok pa naman, nakaka internet pa ko.

    • R2

      ganun? akala ko 800mb data cap ng globe eh sa supersurf and other promos lang. anyone can confirm this?

  • EM

    well xperia ion is release here in the philippines and it supports LTE

    • not the same LTE frequency as Smart provides though

    • reader

      ion uses a different frequency than what is used by smart.

  • Eds

    Please tell smart just provide a stable and reliable 3G speeds, as of the moment we don’t need LTE speeds w/ datacap

    • Griswold

      yes! i don’t care about LTE… i dont think a lot pinoys will care as well. sana ang ayusin nila is their 3G to offer better guaranteed speeds at all time.

  • Baka katulad lang yan ng Smart BROken šŸ™

  • ming

    Hi Calvin, Pardon my ignorance, but what happens once you reach the data cap? does your connection just stop working or do you just get charged a different (obscene) amount for the exceeding kilobytes? or do you get switched to a slower connection and get charged accordingly?

    • both are possible outcomes. some telco switch the plan to 3G if naconsume na yung 10GB while some charge for LTE per minute or GB. We’ll know more sa Saturday.

  • wildecox

    For a content downloader, this is definitely a NO.

    10GB nowadays wouldn’t get you much.

  • lte japan

    lang kwenta sa japan nga 644mbs na yung lte nila

  • lte japan

    64mbps pala

  • raffy

    sorry for my ignorance ahhh.. pero i just wanna know, for example i have a 4g capable phone, will it automatically get the 4g signal? or i have to pay additional service pa for 4g.. 4g lte is the as 4g or its faster?

    • raffy

      *is 4g LTE the same as 4g?

    • 4G encompasses LTE… another 4G is wimax. if you have an LTE capable phone, and subscribed to an LTE service that works on your phone (Globe and Smart has different LTE frequencies), then you’ll detect the LTE signal.

  • iyotka


    -Its like a ferrari with 1 liter of gasolineĆ¢ā‚¬Ā¦useless!

    -pareho lang sila ng sister company nyang SUN CELLULAR! 3.6mbps daw pero di
    nila nilalagay sa ad nila na 2AM-6AM mo lang marereach ang speed na to! KALOKOHAN!!!

    -10gig a month nowadays is crazy.

    -Even if they double the cap to 20gb, it still seems too low. I don’t see the point of having that
    much speed if you’re limited in terms of the bandwith. Browsing speed wouldn’t have a lot of
    difference between a 3mbps connection and a 41mbps connection.

    -42Mbps can eat up 10GB in roughly 30 minutes of continuous, contiguous data transfer.
    Spread that out over 30 days, and you might as well just be on 1Mbps.

    -42 Mbps capped at 10 GB per month? That’s not SMART.

    -precisely, what would you do with the speed and have a cap?

    -10 GB/month? No way.

    -i can use that 10gb within 2hours. 3500 for a 2 fast movie streaming. id rather buy dvd copies!

    -10GB a month at P3500/month? Too rich for my blood.
    What’s the point of having phenomenal speeds like that when you cap it at 10GB a month?
    either way its a bad move for smart having limited for 10gb.
    Like other muggers said, its not practical. The reason why people even need faster speed,
    is to consume more / download more.
    You don’t need a 50mbps speed just to do internet surfing and twitter.Doesn’t make sense

    -target market would probably be those who wanna show off LTE tech to friends.
    for the next 3 hours at least. then he gets to show it off again next month
    for another 3 hours haha

    -This plan is favorable to Smart.
    This is a trap for consumers, especially for those who are not well verse about data cap, GB and mbps
    I will not be surprise if many consumers will later complain of Bill Shocks

    -10gb for 3.5k php? This is a trap

    • thejorlanb

      though i dont usually download files, i too think this 10GB cap is crap.

      with frequent skype meetings and conferences, 10GB would last for only 15days