|Telecommuter Andrew dela Serna says his mobile internet experience has gotten better ever since Smart has implemented its network rollout in Davao|
Naprey Almario is a person with disability (PWD) who does not let his wheelchair limit his accomplishments. The 28-year old Davao resident already has two businesses that employ PWDs - a travel agency and an online center teaching English to Japanese businessmen. He also travels a lot, and manages to mix business with leisure using mobile internet.
"I have done various online work because it's convenient for me as a PWD. I always encourage my fellow PWDs to work online and go out. PWD ka na nga, hindi ka pa lalabas. Now that internet connection is available everywhere you go, you can work and enjoy at the same time," he said.
It's helped, Almario said, that ever since Smart Communications implemented a network rollout in Metro Davao, he has felt "very obvious" improvements in his mobile internet connection.
"Back then I had to go home just to connect to the internet. But now, a lot of places in Davao already have strong internet. When I'm at a cafe, I no longer need to ask them if they have WiFi. Because I can already access the internet on my Smart LTE Pocket WiFi, and I have no problem doing so."
Smart's network improvement efforts in Davao are focused on tripling LTE-capable sites in the city and surrounding municipalities. This is part of Smart and parent company PLDT's three-year plan to cover 95% of the country's cities and municipalities with LTE service by the end of 2018. LTE is the fastest wireless data service that is commercially available.
Almario urged PWDs to take advantage of improved mobile internet services. "I always tell them that it's very convenient now; they don't have to worry about a thing. Some of them think the internet is expensive, but I think it's more affordable now, especially mobile data."
Customer experience tests conducted by Smart in October supported the positive feedback the company got from subscribers. Significant improvements from June figures were recorded, in terms of success rates in loading a page and uploading a photo within 10 seconds.
For both LTE and 3G, median download and upload speeds improved, and 100% of video streaming attempts were seamlessly.
An LTE-Advanced speed test also conducted in October produced a download speed of 109 mbps and an upload speed of 13 mbps.
|Smart subscribers in Davao are reporting an improved mobile internet experience, amid network efforts in the area|
Jon Joaquin, editor of news website MindaNation.com, is another Davao resident who uses Smart LTE, on his Lenovo S90 for work.
"Mobile internet is absolutely necessary for us. When you are working at an online news site, you have to be first when the news strikes. And it could happen anywhere," he said.
"A few months ago, our team was in a Japanese restaurant when the President made an important announcement. Right then and there, no need for WiFi, we used our mobile phone to post the story," Joaquin shared.
The veteran journalist said he had experienced service disruption when Smart was working on its network, but added that he was experiencing the benefits.
"Across the street where I live is a Smart tower. Every once in a while, I could see people going up the tower. I could see that work was being done. In the past weeks, service has been very reliable. One time I did a speed test in a place where mobile internet speed used to be less than 1 mbps. At the time I checked it, the speed was at 17-18 mbps already."
Joaquin added that the improvement was most felt indoors. "Our studio used to be a dead spot. I had to go out to even make a call. But I was surprised when, starting two weeks ago, I could already use mobile internet inside."
Andrew dela Serna had similar sentiments. A happiness engineer at Wordpress, he uses live chat and email to provide customer support, and has weekly video calls with his colleagues from all over the world.
"My indoor experience with Smart LTE used to be good, but it was not very reliable. That's why I would rely on the internet connection of the place where I was in. But now I can rely on my Samsung S7 with Smart SIM because everywhere I get LTE," he said.
"Ever since Smart did some upgrades here in Davao City, the experience has been really good. Even when I'm inside an enclosed space, my internet connection is still strong," dela Serna added.
Aside from using mobile internet for his job at Wordpress, dela Serna enjoys Smart's improved mobile data as a blogger.
"Before, I wasn't using my phone to blog. I relied on the internet connection at home. It was enough to upload pictures, to accomplish my blog posts. But now it's completely different. There are different kinds of media now like video. People are really into video now."
"When you are blogging, the content is really heavy and the file sizes are really large so that would require a stable connection," he said.