Sunday, February 3, 2013

Smart LTE for iPhone 5: a Q&A with bloggers

If you have an iPhone 5 and you are on iOS 6.1, then you are ready for blazing fast internet speeds up to 42mbps!

Two telcos are now saying that they are offering LTE coverage for iPhone 5 users.

When Smart was still testing its LTE coverage as far back as middle of 2011, I was already one of the beta testers who had a chance to use the LTE dongle. It was unlike the usual USB sticks. It was huge and heavy, but fast! With LTE running on your iPhone 5, think of the possibilities: lag-free gaming, ultra fast surfing, buffer-free video streaming and more. Even livestreaming will be lag-free on an LTE connection! Smart seems confident that they can deliver on their LTE speeds as they claim that they have 4 times the fiber optic power of their closest competitor.

Read here about my experience beta testing the Smart LTE modem.

Of course, being a new offering, there are still many unanswered questions from subscribers so it was also timely for Smart to organize a Question and Answer forum for tech bloggers together with the Smart team.

Here's a bit of good news for the next few months.

Smart subscribers who get the iPhone 5 bundled with iPhone Plans 999 and 2499 or with Unli Data Plans 1500, 2000 and 3000 can automatically use Smart LTE FREE till April 30, 2013. During this time Smart will be observing the data usage behavior of its subscribers to determine future plans and pricing but in the meantime, LTE is FREE! After April 30 is another story.

Why is Smart planning to impose a Data Cap on Smart LTE plans?

Smart says the data cap ensures those who subscribe to the LTE plans do not experience network congestion and that resources will always be there. Even the monthly 1.5GB data cap, according to Smart's survey, is more than adequate for the average user. More data-hungry users who hit the data cap will be brought to a landing page where one can purchase additional data capacity based on available buckets.

Why LTE isn't working on iPhone 5 if subscriber was on an iPhone 4S plan

It needs to be provisioned at Smart's end. Those who got iPhone 5 devices bundled with plans were automatically part of the provisioning for LTE. Those moving from other plans who bought iPhone 5 will need to bring it to Smart so that the handset can be included in the provisioning. Once provisioned, the subscriber has LTE already if he upgrades his OS to 6.1.

Will an LTE handset purchased in Hong Kong work with a Smart nanosim?

Not automatically because it is provisioned with a carrier in Hong Kong. Same is true for handsets bought outside the Philippines. It must be included in Smart's provisioning. Bring handset to Smart and check if it can be included in provisioning. Note: Before you order an LTE-enabled handset like the iPhone 5 from contacts abroad, check that its band frequency will be compatible with Smart's band.

Will Infinity, Unlisurf All-in, Freedom Plan and other plan subscribers have LTE access on LTE-enabled devices?

Yes but they are being provisioned in batches. They should all have LTE soon.

Can prepaid iPhone 5 kits access LTE?

Prepaid iPhone 5 handsets are not yet in the LTE batch for now but it eventually will be. There may be a need to change sim but no change in number.

LTE Packages for LTE-enabled handsets

LTE plans are available for LTE-enabled devices (iPhone 5, Sony Xperia V, ZTE T82, Huawei Ascend D1 LTE to-date). So far these are the LTE buckets: P50 for 1 day, P200 for 1 week, P995 for 1 month which are available to regular plans, consumable plans, unlimited data plans and iPhone plans). More LTE buckets are being planned soon.

What happens if you are on unli data plan with LTE device but you are moving around?

If you are within an LTE site, you will get LTE. If you move to a non-LTE site, like a 3G site, the connection moves down to whatever is available. Because a data cap applies to the plan, the data used counts towards the cap ceiling, regardless of type of connection.

Current LTE sites

There are currently over 770 establishments across 10 cities in Metro Manila and select areas in Boracay, Cebu and Davao with LTE. For a complete list of Smart LTE sites, go to

Here's another announcement from Smart. Unlimited LTE for broadband plans (dongle and pocket wifi) is extended till March 31, 2013.

We are living in exciting times. My next smartphone will be LTE-enabled!

1 comment:

  1. this is bad. if you are connected to lte which means faster connection, then reaching your cap is also faster. their ads are misleading. 1.5 gigs per month? we are not living in the era where we just do chatr send simple text emails. 1.5 gig monthly cap is not enough for average users. i wish they made to about 1 gig per day.