LEADING telecoms company and digital services provider PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) have fired up the country’s first 5G cell sites in the Makati Central Business District and at the Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) in Pampanga.
PLDT and Smart on-aired the first 5G cell site at the PLDT headquarters in Makati City with technology partner Huawei, while it also activated the first 5G cell site at the Clark Smart 5G City in the CFZ with technology partner Ericsson.
The 5G cell sites are 3GPP standard compliant and are the first to be activated in the Philippines.
“I am happy to announce that PLDT and Smart just fired up the first 5G cell sites in the country, putting the company alongside the first tier operators in the world to have deployed live 5G base stations. This is part of our commitment to bring the most advanced technologies to the country,” said PLDT and Smart chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.
By firing up a 5G cell site in a central business district, PLDT and Smart are looking to pilot 5G solutions catered to densely populated areas.
“With 5G resources now in place, we are looking at developing 5G solutions and applications for central business district areas like Makati, which host a dense population of businesses, people and advanced devices,” said Ernesto R. Alberto, PLDT and Smart executive vice president and chief revenue officer.
This is in line with PLDT and Smart’s recently signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Clark Development Corp. to transform the CFZ into the country’s first Smart 5G City.
“With 5G cell sites now live and on-air, we are now set to test 5G’s powerful platform to develop solutions such as autonomous vehicles, connected fleets, and smart buildings and factories, and be able to deliver 5G services to our customers soon,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT-Smart chief technology and information advisor.
According to Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering, Smart is continuously upgrading its network’s Core and Transport elements, including upgrading to fiber the backhaul connecting the network’s cell sites around the country and deploying 5G-ready equipment in its ongoing nationwide LTE roll-out. In the CFZ, PLDT and Smart are also ramping up the roll-out of LTE in key areas and equipping all of them with 5G facilities in the coming months.
“I would like to congratulate PLDT and Smart for this momentous occasion as they lay the foundation for the network infrastructure, to take it to the next level as it enables the country to fully realize its ambition toward a more digitalized economy. I am very happy to be part of this partnership as we enable 5G capability in Smart network today,” said Ericsson’s Nunzio Mirtillo, market area head for South East Asia, Oceania and India.
Arthur Wang, director of Huawei Philippines' PLDT group account, said: “We are happy to partner with PLDT and Smart in helping bring 5G to PLDT-Smart. Through this partnership, we hope to continue developing more innovations to deliver digital services to PLDT and Smart customers.”
Armed with both fixed and wireless infrastructure powered by the country’s most extensive fiber network now at over 221,000 kilometers, PLDT and Smart are best positioned to deploy 5G in the country.
5G opens up exciting possibilities for Internet of Things (IoT) applications and smart cities for Filipinos, particularly for the transport sector, traffic management, manufacturing, airport and mall operations, logistics and warehousing, retail, customer support, and smart homes, among others.
Apart from ultra-high speeds, the key features of 5G include enhanced mobile broadband services, massive machine type communications, and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications. (PR)