PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is boosting connectivity in popular surfing haven Siargao Island in Surigao del Norte and livestreaming this year’s Siargao International Surf Cup via Smart LTE on the World Surf League website.
Foreign and domestic tourists in town for the country’s biggest annual surfing competition, which runs from Sept. 28 to Oct. 4, can enjoy better mobile data experience after Smart fired up Long Term Evolution (LTE) in key areas like Dapa, which serves the island’s seaport and main gateway, and General Luna, where most of the resorts are located, including the world-famous Cloud 9, where the competition is being held.
Tourists and residents can also look forward to better connectivity as Smart rolls out LTE to other areas in the island, like Del Carmen, where the Sayak airport is located.
“In addition to surfing world-class Siargao waves, tourists from all over the country and all over the world can also enjoy surfing the internet using Smart LTE, now that better connectivity in place in one of the country’s most popular islands,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.
“With Smart LTE in Siargao Island, competitors and spectators alike can post photos and videos on-the-go and share their experience to the world during this year’s International Surf Cup,” Tamayo added.
Connectivity boosts tourism
As with previous LTE-powered festivities and tourist spots across the country, better connectivity does not only boost the tourism industry in the area; it also helps increase the income of local businesses and entrepreneurs as well, as mobile data, the internet, and social media open them up to more opportunities.
Among them are fisherman and hawker Rene Boy Sajulga and restaurant owner Glicen Lou Monton, whose businesses improved as tourists took advantage of better connectivity during the Sarangani Bay Fest earlier this year. For Jocelyn Libato, who works at a travel agency in tourist-popular Puerto Princesa in Palawan, mobile data is needed for them to be able to keep up with the “strong online community of travelers.”
“Technology touches people’s lives directly. Better connectivity is not just for boosting businesses, it is also for connecting families and empowering local governments,” Tamayo added.
Smart LTE in Mindanao
Siargao is among the many areas in Mindanao that already have LTE. Aside from Siargao, Smart has also rolled out LTE in key areas in Mindanao like Davao, Lanao del Sur, Sarangani, North Cotabato and South Cotabato, to name a few.
Among the areas having LTE for the first time are Marawi City, Lanao del Sur; Malalag, Davao Del Sur; Libungan, North Cotabato; Malapatan, Sarangani; and Tantangan, South Cotabato, for example.
To date, 48% of Mindanao sites have now been upgraded to LTE. Of this figure, over half have already been upgraded to LTE-Advanced. (PR)