Smart Successfully Makes First WiFi Call in Cebu

Smart Communications Inc, together with its technology partner Huawei Technologies Inc, has made the first successful Voice over WiFi (VoWiFi) call over a live network in Cebu, a first outside Metro Manila.

VoWifi or WiFi Calling lets customers make and receive calls and text messages over a WiFi connection, such as Smart WiFi or PLDT Home WiFi, by using their smartphone's native dialer and without having to install a third-party app.

Apart from improved calling and messaging experience, WiFi Calling also offers extended network coverage, as customers can make and receive voice calls, as well as video calls, whenever there is WiFi connection.

"As we invest in future-proofing our network, we are continuously innovating to add more communication options for our customers," said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering. "We look forward to letting our customers make high-definition WiFi calls soon, especially via PLDT Home WiFi and Smart WiFi."

This pioneering initiative is a key part of PLDT and Smart's integrated efforts to continuously improve and evolve its voice services, Tamayo added. Soon, Smart customers will be able to make voice over wifi calls using VoWiFi-capable smartphones.

First VoLTE Call in PH

Last year, Smart also made the country's first Voice over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) mobile call, which uses LTE or 4G to conduct calls. With VoLTE, customers with VoLTE-capable devices can stay on the 4G/LTE network when making and receiving calls, which makes call set-up time in LTE faster. Call set-up time is the amount of time it takes for the voice call to connect.

And because LTE is very efficient in carrying data traffic, a  voice call made over LTE is crystal clear quality, with almost no background noise.

As of end-June, Smart has installed over 3,900 new LTE base stations across the country, not only to expand LTE coverage but also to lay the ground for LTE-A, which can provide even greater capacity and speeds to users with capable smartphones. This puts the total count of LTE base stations at over 12,600.

Underpinning PLDT and Smart's fixed and mobile network roll-out was the expansion of PLDT's fiber optic transmission and distribution network. In the first half of 2018, PLDT increased its fiber footprint to about 204,000 kilometers after adding over 29,000 kilometers of fiber cable, 97% of its full-year 2018 target. PLDT's fiber network, the most extensive in the country, also supports Smart's mobile network by providing high-capacity fiber connections for LTE base stations.

Smart is also deploying carrier-grade Smart WiFi in high-traffic public places all over the country, such as transporting hubs like MRT-3 and LRT-1 stations, major airports, bus terminals and seaports across the country, as well as in schools, government buildings, hospitals, malls and entertainment centers.

"We will continue to strengthen and revolutionize our network so that we can deliver relevant services such as WiFi Calling and VoLTE, as well as voice/video over 5G in the near future," Tamayo added.
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