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SMART Communications GSM Mobile Network, Philippines

Key Data

The first dual-band GSM (Global Systems of Mobile Communication) network in the Philippines was launched in April 1999, following a deal between Nokia and SMART Communications. SMART Communications is the leading mobile phone operator in the Philippines and is moving 900,000 subscribers across from its older ETACS analogue network to the new GSM service, known as SMART Gold GSM. This is the third GSM service in the Philippines.

By the end of 1999 SMART had 180,000 GSM subscribers (although 140,000 of them had joined its pre-paid SMART Buddy service). The contract with Nokia for the initial SMART network was signed in November 1998, and it rolled out a network with 530 cell sites over the following year. To further expand this network and add extra services the company has signed a further $150 million contract with Nokia.


The SMART GSM network is the first dual band GSM network in the Philippines, covering both the GSM 800 and 1800 frequencies. The contract was for the turnkey delivery of a complete GSM network including Nokia's Mobile Switching Centres (MSC), Home Location Registers (HLR), Base Station Controllers (BSC), Base Stations (BTS), Short Message Service Centre (SMSC) and the Nokia NMS network management system. Additionally, Nokia will supply a range of customer services.

The software and hardware supplied by Nokia will enable SMART to offer a range of value-added services such as SMS (short messaging service), internet billing and limited data services such as news and weather. SMS is essentially similar to paging, but SMS messages do not require the mobile phone to be active and within range, as they can be held for a number of days until it is in range. SMS messages are transmitted within the same cell or to anyone with roaming capability. They can also be sent to digital phones from a web site equipped with PC Link or from one digital phone to another. An SMS gateway is a web site that lets you enter an SMS message to someone within the cell served by that gateway, or that acts as an international gateway for users with roaming capability.

The SMS is a store and forward service. In other words, short messages are not sent directly from sender to recipient, but always via an SMS Center instead. Each mobile telephone network that supports SMS has one or more messaging centers to handle and manage the short texts.

In addition, the dual band system will allow more extensive roaming capability than a single band network.