PLDT defers 5G launch to next year

Richmond Mercurio - The Philippine Star
PLDT defers 5G launch to next year
PLDT was initially eyeing to launch 5G services for home broadband and enterprise customers by the fourth quarter this year.

MANILA, Philippines — Telco giant PLDT Inc. is deferring to next year the commercial rollout of its 5G services next year  to have  clearer view of the use cases for the new technology.

“I don’t think it will happen this year. But certainly sometime next year, early next year,” PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V. Pangilinan said yesterday.

PLDT was initially eyeing to launch 5G services for home broadband and enterprise customers by the fourth quarter this year.

“We have to determine the standards by which 5G will operate and of course we have to choose the vendor or vendors of 5G. We’re testing Huawei, Ericsson, Nokia, maybe one more. So hopefully next few months we will determine which vendor we will choose for 5G,” Pangilinan said.

“We don’t have a clear view as well of what are the use cases for 5G. People have talked about it. So we’d like to actually go outside the Philippines and look at the use cases in China, in Korea, and even the States where certain elements of the 5G networks are built or being built,” he said.

5G is a wireless technology expected to provide high speeds with low latency, as well as open opportunities for use in healthcare and smart cities.

 “All we know is it’s going to be a more dense network than 4G,” Pangilinan said.

PLDT chief revenue officer Alfredo Panlilio said rolling out 5G would be a long term plan for the company, similar to 4G which did not happen overnight.

“Once you build the network it should cover across all customers. The use cases we’re seeing a lot of it is on the enterprise side that’s why we’re piloting certain areas,” he said.

“The solutions we’re seeing is enterprises, but once you’re there, you can also offer it to wireless customers, not only mobile, but also home,” Panlilio said.

Equipped with both fixed and wireless infrastructure powered by the country’s most extensive fiber network, PLDT said it is best positioned to deploy 5G in the country. 

PLDT and wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. in November last year activated the first 5G cell site at the PLDT headquarters in Makati City with technology partner Huawei, while also firing up the first 5G cell site at the Clark Smart 5G City with technology partner Ericsson.

Last March, PLDT and Smart signed a memorandum of understanding with Nokia to pilot the deployment of 5G wireless broadband technologies and services in schools, while in April, the telco giant entered into a partnership with Cisco to help transform its IP transport infrastructure into a fully automated software defined 5G-ready IP transport network.

In line with the company’s 5G strategy, PLDT Enterprise launched yesterday its Smart 5G Alliance composed of global tech leaders and local stakeholders across the business, government and academe sector.

The alliance is seen as an accelerator for 5G innovations within the Philippine setting.




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