Industry giant PLDT Inc. is targeting to launch 5G services for select home broadband and corporate customers by the fourth quarter of 2019, chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said.
PLDT’s rollout will come after rival Globe Telecom’s own commercial pilot launch in the coming days, given Globe’s target to offer 5G to households within this month.
Fifth-generation or 5G is a new mobile standard that will offer much faster internet speeds and less lag. With testing ongoing for a range of applications—from connecting everyday devices to automated manufacturing and driving—5G will revolutionize how consumers and businesses harness the internet.
With PLDT’s launch months away, Pangilinan said they have yet to finalize their suppliers of 5G network gear and other solutions.
PLDT had named at least four companies, including China’s Huawei Technologies, which was recently placed on a trade blacklist by the United States as it raised concerns that Chinese technology could be used for spying.
“We raised the security issues with them [Huawei] and they promised to cooperate,” Pangilinan told reporters last week. He said PLDT was in constant talks with Huawei, which supplied equipment for PLDT’s 4G and fixed-line networks.
Apart from Huawei, PLDT identified Swedish firm Ericsson and Finland’s Nokia as 5G test partners. Last April 11, PLDT tapped US firm Cisco for its 5G IP transport network.
Local telcos are joining operators in other countries such as the United States and South Korea in the early launch of 5G.
It also comes amid still-persistent criticism on their quality of service for both mobile and fixed line. In response, PLDT and Globe have been increasing spending. This year alone, capital investments are seen to top a combined P140 billion, a record figure.
Philippine telcos are focusing on the home and enterprise markets given the lack of affordable 5G mobile phones. Still, both are positioning to take advantage of potential new revenue streams. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS