Reprint from

MANILA, Philippines—Dominant mobile carrier Smart Communications Inc. is pushing through with the long-awaited nationwide launch of its fourth-generation (4G) wireless broadband network by the middle of the year.

In a statement, the company said most of the areas it covered would be LTE [long-term evolution]-ready before the second half of 2012, leading to faster connection speeds and better service quality for Smart’s nearly 50 million subscribers.

“This is a major component of the P67.1-billion network modernization of PLDT and Smart which we have accelerated and intend to complete within the year,” Smart technology group head Rolando Peña said.

Smart touts LTE as the most advanced 4G wireless technology available in the market today. The technology allows mobile subscribers to experience speeds of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) and above.

The company said subscribers would also be able to access High Speed Access Plus (HSPA+) wireless technology, in areas where LTE is unavailable. This can deliver speeds of up to 80 Mbps. The installation of either LTE or HSPA+ in different areas of the country will depend on demand from consumers, Peña said.

To make its network of over 13,000 base stations 4G-ready, Smart is installing Single Radio Access Network (Single RAN) base stations in all of its cell sites. Single RAN facilities can be easily upgraded to offer either HSPA+ or LTE services through software upgrades and some additional hardware equipment.