4G Internet services promise noticeably faster mobile Internet speeds as compared to its 3G forerunner and, as would you and the thousands of net critters like us, I said “I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE” when I experienced firsthand how FAST Smart’s Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G service could really go. Imagine watching full-HD Youtube videos without the pain of letting them stream for hours on pause before watching them sans buffering. To understand the technology better, I tried reading through net materials on 4G and, not surprisingly, my brain would numb off when I force it to get as much supposedly life nurturing nerdy juice from them as I can. Right after my third failed attempt, I concluded with firm resolve that if I become Emperor of the known world, I’d ban techno-jargon from reaching the consciousness of ordinary mortals, this Mensa genius included, because of their arbitrary harmful effects, quite similar to getting too much UV, glucose from non-diet non-zero sodas, and fat from those delicious yet ordinary glazed donuts.
However, if there’s one thing I learned from my net-readings, it’s this: 3.5G and HSPA+ will be far FAR inferior compared to a 4G’s premise like, in my mind, somewhere along a 1Gb download in under 10 minutes while you play your favourite resource-hogging online flash or client-based MMORPG . Sounds ridiculous, yes? Actually, not with LTE.
Smart will soon release its 4G LTE service late in the year and they have been fearlessly inviting several discerning users, yours truly included *chest thumps*, to try it out. The techno-masochist in me had a field day thinking of possible stress test scenarios for this special purpose.
When Bim from Smart said “download anything you can think of. Anything that’s legal, of course, LOL,” only one thing came to my mind: the massive 5.06Gb Adobe Creative Suite 5. To add to the challenge, I used the same browser to watch a full HD 1080p trailer of Summer Wars while the download is ongoing followed by me playing GodsWar Online, a flash-based MMORPG from IGG (that would on normal occasions freeze intermittently after around 30 minutes of continuous game play). Below’s a screenshot of the activity:
The shot of the screen above was set up with a direct-to-PC connection at the briefing hub in Astoria, Boracay. My download speed averaged 1MB/s or 8Mb/s. The real test, for me, however, should be when I take the Smart LTE dongle up to my room, a considerable distance away from Astoria, and see for myself how this would fare wirelessly from there. Proceeding to download Adobe Photoshop CS5.1 trial version that’s around 1Gb in size, thinking the LTE technology would fail to deliver anything better than the 1MB/s speed from hours before, it finished in 8-9 minutes tops at speeds between 2.19 to 2.3MB/s ( or 17.52Mb to 18.4Mb/s!). More than twice as fast from my previous experience! My laptop must have felt euphoria that time because the 1Gb download finished in 8-9 minutes LOL.
“LTE is a mobile standard which promises, at present, actual download speeds of up to 70Mb/s (as proven during the launch in Boracay) or roughly 35 times faster than that of the current 3G standard. It is 100% future-proof as it is designed from the ground up to handle massive amounts of data.
“With this, end users can fully enjoy multimedia streaming and downloads on their mobile devices faster than they could even on fixed-line DSL and cable internet connections” – Smart Communications.
I raised several questions during the test and briefing: when do consumers get it, who gets it first, and how much can we have it for? Smart LTE is currently slated for public release in December 2011 but the infrastructure is now established in Metro Manila and Boracay. Cebu, Davao, and other major Philippine cities and municipalities will follow shortly, Anne Binuya of Smart shared. There may be times when the 4G signal would go down to lower speeds depending on the location, similar probably to what I experience on my mobile phone with Smart’s HSPA when mobile. They mentioned that pricing would definitely be higher than the current rates for mobile broadband but there’s no final plan amount yet. Hopefully it’s friendly on my budget because I’m missing the speed already and I’ve been itching to change ISPs for a while now.
Traveling to Boracay on a Saturday and back in Manila again on Sunday was worth getting a taste of something exciting from the near future, all thanks to Smart. Since we’re in one of the best beaches in the world and since we were afforded some free time, we got to beeline towards a small store called Jonah’s Fruit Shake (not an advertorial, mind you), the undisputed must go to place in Boracay for fruit shakes LOL, thrice in 24 hours! Thanks for suggesting the Avocado-Banana variant, Bim. IT WAS THE BOMB LIKE YOU SAIT IT WOULD BE!!!
Disclosure: airfare, living, and accommodation expenses for the one-day LTE testing event in Boracay was entirely paid for by Smart Communications.