Smart launches 5G Technolab
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - June 7, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Smart Communications, the wireless arm of PLDT Inc., has launched the 5G Technolab which would focus on research and development, as well as testing of 5G or fifth-generation wireless broadband technologies and services as part of preparations for future demand.

“Even as 5G network technology is still at its early stages, and keeping in mind that it may take some time before 5G can be available commercially, we are already investing in pilot testing our 5G system and paving the way toward having a ‘5G-ready’ network by 2020,” Eric Alberto, PLDT and Smart Communications Inc. executive vice president and chief revenue officer said Tuesday.

The move is being undertaken even as 5G-compatible devices are not yet available in the market.

In addition to providing high speeds coupled with low latency, 5G is expected to open exciting possibilities for internet of things (IoT) applications for Filipinos, particularly in healthcare and smart cities.

“Our vision for 5G is to be able to provide services that are relevant for our customers.  There is more to what 5G can do, which includes enhanced mobile broadband services, massive machine type communications, and ultra-reliable and low-latency communications,” Mario Tamayo, PLDT and Smart senior vice president for network planning and engineering said.

He said the telco is working to transform the network to ensure it could address the needs of the future.

Part of the company’s efforts toward future-proofing the network is the accelerated rollout of 4G or Long Term Evolution (LTE), as well as LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) and carrier aggregation technology across the country.

“By firing up LTE and LTE-A in areas from as far north as Batanes to as far south as Sarangani, we are working to make sure that our network is ready to bring world-class connectivity and the digital connected society to our customers, wherever they may be,” Tamayo said.

As part of preparations for 5G, PLDT and Smart signed a memorandum of understanding with Huawei Philippines last year to shape the strategic and commercial development of the 5G ecosystem in the Philippines.

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