Smart, Globe rolling out 5G in 2019
PLDT Inc.’s mobile subsidiary, Smart Communications Inc., announced its intention to deploy a 5G “pilot network” by the first half of 2019.
PLDT also announced a partnership with Swedish technology giant Ericsson in line with the rollout of 5G, which promises faster mobile internet speed and lower latency. The launch will initially focus on Luzon.
PLDT and Ericsson signed an agreement for the rollout of 5G, including Ericsson 5G RAN, Core and Transport solutions.
During PLDT’s annual stockholders’ in June, company chair and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan said they were still unsure of the commercial viability of 5G, citing, among others, the lack of standards at this stage and the availability of 5G-capable devices.
He said PLDT would be ready to market 5G services as soon as it made sense from a commercial perspective.
In June, rival Globe Telecom, with China’s Huawei, announced that 5G-quality services would be available to its home broadband customers by the second quarter of 2019.
GSM Association, a trade group of mobile network operators, earlier said the final 5G standards would be set by 2019, with commercial rollout seen to pick up the following year.
Meanwhile, PLDT said it was ramping up the rollout of LTE and LTE-advanced carrier aggregation technology while “making sure that these are already future-proof and 5G-capable.” It noted that Smart is currently installing 5G-compatible radio equipment across its network. The group now has over 2,000 5G-ready sites.
With “extremely high speeds coupled with low latency,” PLDT noted that 5G services lend themselves well to the healthcare industry and so-called smart cities.
The company said it had been testing 5G with partner Nokia since 2016. These tests, it claimed, reached speeds of 2.5 gigabits per second using using 100 MHz with latency of just 1 millisecond over a ‘live’ network. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS
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