The Philippines’ largest mobile operator Smart said it launched three cell sites using the 700MHz frequency it acquired from San Miguel Corp (SMC) on 30 May and plans to roll out 360 sites supporting the efficient spectrum this year.

Rival Globe Telecom pipped the market leader by announcing earlier in the week it deployed its first 700MHz base station and plans to roll out 200 sites supporting the band this year.

SMC, which failed to find a foreign partner to launch a third mobile operator in the country, last month sold its telecoms assets – which included the valuable 700MHz spectrum – to Globe and PLDT for $1.5 billion.

Smart, the wireless unit of PLDT, deployed the new sites in Manila, Rizal and Davao. It said the Rizal site combines the 700MHz and 1.8GHz bands using LTE-Advanced carrier aggregation to deliver peak download speeds of 222Mb/s, BusinessWorld reported. The Manila site, in Pasig, supports just the 700MHz band and can deliver peak downlink rates of 100Mb/s.

Samsung and Huawei both after a range of 700MHz-capable devices, and local vendor MyPhone plans to introduce nine handsets and a pocket Wi-Fi device that supports the 700MHz band by September. The iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, and SE are expected to support the band with the release of the new Apple iOS this year, the newspaper said.