Another ‘First’ by Smart Axiata: Launch of 4.5G

Leading mobile telco showcases latest technologies and announces its ongoing commitment to provide even faster mobile services in the coming months with the commercial launch of 4.5G.

September 1, 2017

4 Min Read

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia -- Cambodia’s leading mobile telecommunications company, Smart Axiata, announced the commercial launch of 4.5G under the presence of H.E. Tram Iv Tek, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications of Cambodia.

At the “4.5G Evolution: Road to 5G” press event at Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra, Smart also showcased new key mobile technologies together with its partner Huawei Technologies. This latest evolution of mobile technology, also known as LTE Advance Pro, will enable Smart subscribers to enjoy even faster mobile Internet while experiencing world class lifestyle and entertainment content bundles with Smart’s ever-expanding 4G+ and now 4.5G network.

In the last three years, Smart has demonstrated its desire and ability to drive the development and growth of the Kingdom’s mobile communications and data services. In 2014, Smart became the first mobile operator in Cambodia to provide 4G LTE. In 2016, Smart launched 4G+ using carrier aggregation i.e. combination of different frequencies, and was the first to offer 4G in all provinces. 4G+ with HD Voice or VoLTE, was launched in early 2017 to improve voice call experience, further raising Smart’s data leadership position in Cambodia.

Typically, 4.5G networks are capable of providing up to 8x faster peak mobile Internet speeds than normal 4G LTE. Technically, dependent on the amount of spectrum available, such networks can provide up to 1 Gbps cell peak throughput rates using the latest devices by Samsung, Sony and Huawei. More device vendors are expected to make this technology upgrade available in the coming months. Using 256QAM modulation, 4x4 MIMO and multi-carrier aggregation, the base station cell peak speeds Smart’s network can achieve in selected areas, up to 600 Mbps as of now*.

Smart currently operates 2300 2G and 3G sites and more than 1800 4G LTE sites across all 25 provinces in Cambodia. Smart’s commitment to providing the fastest, widest and most affordable mobile broadband network in the country is evident in the year-on-year increase in investment to expand its network infrastructure. This is in support of the Royal Government of Cambodia’s objectives of 100% and 70% mobile broadband coverage in urban and rural areas respectively, by 2020.

“We strive to be the most progressive telco in the country. Smart will continue to seek new and better ways to ensure our subscribers receive the best possible service. We invested 75 million USD in 2016 and another 80 million USD this year, largely for network expansions and upgrades to provide top-notch mobile Internet with lifestyle enhancing value-added services. After being the first telco introducing 4G LTE in Cambodia in 2014, 4G+ in 2016 and now again the first telco bringing 4.5G to the country, 5G is surely not far away,” Thomas Hundt, CEO of Smart Axiata said.

Solidifying Smart’s leading position in the sector, the company says it is already studying key 5G technologies such as Massive MIMO to ensure that the company is prepared as soon as the relevant standards being defined and the technologies are commercially available. Although it is just starting to take shape, 5G is expected to come with multi Gbps speeds, huge network capacity, much lower latency and the ability to have fast simultaneous connections. Industry experts expect the first commercial launch of full-fledged 5G to happen in the year 2020.

“I’m very pleased that together with Smart, we are launching 4.5G and are able to bring Cambodia closer to next generation technology. The 4.5G will certainly bring significant network improvements from today’s 4G network while acting as a bridge for future mobile data applications when 5G is launched in the future. This includes mobile cloud services, 4K video, virtual reality, Internet of Things and much more,” shared David Lixiongwei, CEO of Huawei Technologies Cambodia.

Today’s announcement is the latest in a busy year for Smart so far, which has seen the introduction of a number of innovative digital services alongside massive investments into network coverage, capacity and resiliency, all fundamental building blocks to fulfill Smart’s vision of being Cambodia’s Digital Champion.

Smart’s partnership with Malaysia’s iflix, and similar offerings from VuClip and Jaikon mean that local and international video, TV and movie content are accessible by users across Cambodia, greatly increasing the quality of content available to them. SmartMusic, the company’s free music streaming service, has been upgraded and is now also available on its own website to provide a better user experience for music enthusiasts. SmartNas, a self-care app allows subscribers to manage their pre-paid account and services while the new SmartWeather service offers local weather forecasting to the public.

Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

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