Coverage improvement benefits SMART’s subscribers in the face of increasing 3G usage on the network. Antenna-Integrated Radio (AIR) 21 shows an improvement of as much as 73 percent in 3G coverage, compared with traditional 3G radio base stations. The AIR 21 simplifies and reduces installation lead times. SMART is the first operator in the Southeast Asian region to deploy AIR.

Subscribers of the Philippines’ leading wireless services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) can expect to enjoy a much improved quality of coverage and access to more advanced wireless technologies, especially as the use of mobile data continues to increase across the network. Smart today announced that it has deployed the Antenna-Integrated Radio (AIR), a product of world-leading communications technology and services vendor Ericsson, becoming the first operator in the Southeast Asian region to do so. The advanced AIR 21 ensures the highly efficient and smooth introduction of elements of GSM, 3G/WCDMA and fourth-generation (4G) Long-Term Evolution (LTE) technologies into Smart’s existing networks, by simplifying and reducing installation lead times while increasing coverage.

With the product in place, Smart’s wireless network now allows Filipinos to be abreast with the rest of the world in terms of wireless technology, in a more efficient and timely manner.

Rolando Pena, head of technology at Smart and PLDT, says: "The deployment of the AIR 21 once again puts SMART ahead of its peers in the region. We expect the vast improvement in coverage and swiftness of installation times to greatly benefit our subscribers, especially as we see increasing usage of mobile Internet in our network."

Smart’s parent company PLDT recently reported how mobile Internet usage continues to grow strongly among the mobile subscribers of its wireless brands Smart and Sun Cellular, with PLDT’s mobile Internet revenues increasing by 49% as of end June 2013, compared to a year ago.

To date, Ericsson has commercially deployed the AIR product for both Smart’s GSM and LTE networks, and tests show an improvement of as much as 73 percent in 3G coverage when using AIR. Ericsson’s AIR has fewer units and fewer interconnections compared to traditional site solutions, allowing a new standard or a new frequency band to be introduced easily.

Elie Hanna, President of Ericsson Philippines and Pacific Islands, says: "The market is experiencing a tremendous take off in mobile broadband and user expectations for speed and coverage are increasing the demands placed on networks. In order to cope with future capacity demands, Ericsson has a clearly defined small cell strategy that the AIR architecture is part of. When comparing 3G AIR with traditional 3G radio base stations, there is a marked improvement in 3G coverage when using AIR. In addition, AIR simplifies and reduces installation lead times."

The innovative integration of the antenna unit into the radio unit is the first of its kind in the global telecommunications industry. Compact design and a multi-standard solution ensure the highly efficient and smooth introduction of new technologies in both 3G and 4G. A new standard or a new frequency band can easily be introduced by simply adding AIR and swapping the existing antenna.

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