PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), along with its technology partner Huawei Technologies Inc., has made the first successful Voice over Wifi (VoWifi) call over the Smart network.
With VoWifi or Wifi Calling, customers can place calls while connected to Wifi using the native dialer of their Wifi calling-capable handsets without having to install any third-party applications.
Using Wifi Calling, customers can enjoy voice and video calls as they can make and receive calls wherever there is Wifi connection.
“With this breakthrough, we are leading the way to making more communication options available to our customers. We look forward to letting our customers make Wifi calls on PLDT Home and Smart Wifi soon,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.
“This pioneering initiative is a key part of PLDT and Smart’s efforts to continuously improve and evolve our voice services,” Tamayo said.
“This is also part of PLDT and Smart’s strategy to use both our fixed and wireless networks to provide more converged products and deliver better service to our customers,” Tamayo added.
“Wifi Calling will greatly enhance and complement the current rollout we are doing,” said John Emil Buencamino, Center Head, Core Planning and Engineering for Smart. “Wifi Calling can help make customer experience in voice calls even better. The network is ready.”
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 transmit 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.
Network transformation program
Parent company PLDT has committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation. Capital expenditures reached P40 billion in 2017, of which about 67% was allotted for the mobile network. For 2018, PLDT capex is expected to reach P58 billion, which includes allocations for the aggressive roll-out of its fiber broadband service, which also supports the stepped-up deployment of the mobile network by providing high-capacity links for cellular base stations.
Smart is also deploying carrier-grade Smart Wifi in high-traffic public places all over the country, such as transportations 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.
This aggressive network rollout is bearing fruit. Smart leads in LTE download speeds nationwide and in all major regions in the country, according to mobile analytics company OpenSignal. Smart LTE download speeds nationwide are at 12.5 Mbps, ahead of the competition’s 7.7 Mbps. Smart’s 4G/LTE availability also jumped by nearly 20% to 59.68% from 39.96% a year ago.
“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 5G in the near future,” Tamayo added.