Skip to main content

December 30, 2023 – Leading integrated telco network PLDT Inc (PLDT) and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) intensified their network enhancement initiatives in 2023 to deliver leveled-up experience to their customers by optimizing their integrated fixed and wireless networks and rolling out network innovations.

“This reaffirms our commitment to continuously improve our network, make our operations more efficient, and bring the benefits of the latest technologies and innovations closer to our customers,” said Eric Santiago, Head of Network at PLDT and Smart.

Among these innovations are Proof of Concepts (PoCs) conducted to explore how PLDT and Smart can improve various parts of their network operations.

Earlier this year, Smart successfully deployed the country’s first fully functional Open Radio Access Network (ORAN) POC at the PLDT-Smart Technolab, demonstrating the potential of the technology to enhance network operations while lowering cost by allowing telcos like Smart to “mix and match” hardware and software from any vendor, unlike in traditional vendor lock-in setups, wherein equipment and software could only come from a single vendor for a specific area.

Smart has also deployed Spectrum-NET, which enabled the company to reduce in half the radio interference impacting its network, thereby improving service quality for customers. This has also made Smart the cleanest network in the region, performing better than other operators in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, and Latin America, and putting Smart at par with North American and European countries, according to data from Spectrum Effect.

Paving the way for more efficient and environmentally friendly network operations, PLDT and Smart also completed their PoC of drone-aided digital inspection of its cellular sites in Metro Manila. Conducted in several Smart towers in Quezon City, Valenzuela, and Caloocan, the PoC was held using drone technology to capture multiple cell sites’ information and produce “digital twins” of these network towers.

The use of autonomous drone technology in capturing network tower information is seen to replace the time-consuming, dangerous, and manual task of climbing every tower to gather and record data. Turning the drone-captured images into a digital twin of the tower with the aid of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will also enable Smart to build a single source of field-based truth across the entire Smart network and will facilitate faster and data-driven decision-making.

AI and ML are also being employed on PLDT and Smart’s self-optimizing network, as they join global operators in rapidly adopting the technology.

“We have implemented these initiatives to maintain our network leadership and quality. This not only means expanding coverage and delivering speed, but also involves the pursuit of energy efficiency, which translates to cost savings and lower carbon emissions,” Santiago added.

For example, PLDT and Smart have also been testing a sleeping cell algorithm which enables the network to shut down a particular element when it is not being utilized for more efficient electricity consumption.

This year, Smart has also further expanded its Self-Organizing Network (SON) project as part of Smart’s push for further automation transformation, as it rolled out consistency checking and correction of network elements’ parameters for 3G and 4G/LTE. Neighbor management for 2G and 4G-5G sites was also fully implemented, while coverage optimization for 4G Massive MIMO sites ensure optimal level for network coverage as sites are further rolled out.

Smart has also unveiled a series of innovative initiatives aimed at energy savings. Recognizing the importance of environmental responsibility, the company has implemented best practices to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by optimizing and streamlining network operations and adopting energy-efficient software and licenses. This commitment to energy conservation aligns with the company’s broader mission to foster a sustainable and eco-friendly digital landscape.

With the help of these initiatives, PLDT and Smart have once again been awarded the Philippines’ Fastest Broadband Network and the country’s Fastest and Best Mobile Network by Ookla, the global leader in mobile and broadband network intelligence.

Smart is the first and only Philippine wireless services provider to earn this prestigious and rare citation for three consecutive reporting periods by Ookla in Q1-Q2 2022, Q3-Q4 2022, and Q1-Q2 2023.

Smart’s network also recently enabled its value mobile brand TNT to set the Guinness World Record for the Longest Travel Livestream lasting for over 26 hours and covering 75 kilometers from Bustos, Bulacan to Rizal Park in Manila.

Dubbed as the Petmaloop Challenge, the milestone effort involved the use of one TNT-powered smartphone, passed from one content creator to another in relay fashion, to conduct an uninterrupted livestream on micro-vlogging app TikTok.

For displaying consistently superior network performance, Smart also received the top award from the independent benchmarking organization umlaut. In receiving the ‘Best in Test’ award from umlaut, Smart was also cited for having the best rated upload speeds, download speeds, and latency experience.

This level of performance is enabled by PLDT and Smart’s integrated fixed and wireless networks. Smart’s mobile network, which covers 97% of the population, is supported by PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which was at over 1.1 million kilometers as of end-September 2023.

PLDT and Smart’s initiatives to harness innovation and enhance their networks through new technologies are aligned with the Group’s commitment to the Government’s overall digitalization thrust to narrow the digital divide as one of the founding members of the government-mandated Presidential Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) under the Digital Infrastructure Pillar.

These also boost PLDT’s aspirational multi-year transformation, with elevating customer experience as one of the key priorities, as well as contribute to the Group’s endeavors to provide connectivity to all, bringing the benefits of the internet to more communities while integrating sustainable solutions in the Group’s daily operations.

Source: PLDT Press Release


About Spectrum Effect

Spectrum Effect’s mission is to solve the most challenging and costly problems in the wireless industry through innovation and automation. With a passion for disruptive technologies and engineering excellence, Spectrum Effect has created Spectrum-NET, the industry’s leading solution for the automated ML-driven analysis and mitigation of RF interference. With Spectrum-NET, operators across the globe are rapidly addressing RF interference, improving network KPIs, surgically deploying their field assets, gaining insights into spectral efficiency, and saving significant OPEX and CAPEX.



Cara Mormino for Spectrum Effect,