PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) is seeing growth for its fixed wireless business, with demand for quality connectivity continuing to increase as people shelter in place amid the renewed surge of COVID-19 cases. Fixed wireless refers to WiFi modems that connect multiple devices to Smart LTE but have to stay plugged into power, making it “fixed.”
In the first half of 2021, service revenues from its fixed wireless products like Prepaid Home WiFi grew 187% or by P1.1 billion, compared to the same period last year.
“Fixed wireless is a bright spot, as demand for our Prepaid Home WiFi service grows, pushing our daily activations on an upward trend,” said Jane Basas, SVP and head of Consumer Wireless Business at Smart. “The power of fixed wireless is that it is “plug and play” — no need for installations and wires. It is a ubiquitous solution that enables us to provide broadband connectivity wherever we have 4G/LTE coverage. For Smart, this means we are able to provide fixed wireless connectivity to 96% of the Philippine population from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi.”
Highlighting continued growth, Basas said that Smart’s fixed wireless subscriber base has been seeing a steady increase, with the number of new subscribers growing by as much as 200% month-on-month.
“With more Filipinos going digital in the New Normal, including families gearing up for another school year of taking online classes and continuing their work-from-home setup, there is need for significantly more data to accomplish daily tasks and stay productive online,” Basas said.
Prepaid Home WiFi, a ready-to-go, plug-and-play device that allows multiple users to connect to fast and reliable internet, is powered by Smart LTE. Prepaid Home WiFi customers can also use the GigaLife App, a one-stop app that allows users to load up, register to promos, and monitor usage.
To support Smart’s mobile and fixed wireless customers, Smart had increased as of end-June 2021 the number of its base stations to over 68,500, up 16%, compared with end-2020. This includes more than 4,500 LTE base stations deployed in the first half of the year alone.