By Emmie V. Abadilla
Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Clark Development Corp. (CDC) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU)to launch Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) as the country’s first Smart 5G City.
Under the MOU, PLDT, Inc., the telco’s parent firm, Smart, and technology partner Ericsson, will fire up the first 5G cell site in the city this month.
“We are happy to be working with CDC in building the city of the future, equipped with smart services and powered by 5G infrastructure, right here in Pampanga,” remarked PLDT and Smart Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.
“This will benefit not only Clark but the country as well by demonstrating that we are in step with the rest of the world in adopting advanced intelligent technologies,” he added.
In line with this program, PLDT and Smart are ramping-up the roll-out of LTE in key areas in CFZ and equipping all of them with 5G facilities in the coming months.
“This will not only be of benefit to Clark locators but also the many industries, various businesses and communities in the country as well,” added CDC President and CEO Noel Manankil.
With its capability to deliver extremely high speeds, 5G opens up possibilities for the Internet of Things (IoT) applications for Filipinos, as well as smart applications for the transport sector, traffic management, manufacturing, airport and mall operations, logistics and warehousing, retail, customer support and smart homes.
“Through this pilot deployment, we will be able to test 5G’s capabilities using a live network and develop solutions that will serve the future needs of industries and government, such as autonomous vehicles, connected fleets, and smart buildings and factories,” explained PLDT and Smart Chief Revenue Officer Ernesto R. Alberto.
“To deliver 5G services to its customers in the future, Smart is upgrading its network’s Core and Transport elements,” according to Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.
“As we continue to roll-out LTE, LTE-Advanced and carrier aggregation technology nationwide, we are also making sure that these are already future-proof and 5G-capable,” he added.
Under its current network upgrade program, Smart is installing 5G-compatible radio equipment across its network, which now has over 2,000 5G-ready sites.
“By piloting 5G in Clark, we are making this zone even more attractive to foreign investors,” stressed Juan Victor Hernandez, Senior Vice President and Head of Enterprise for PLDT and Smart.
“Through this pilot, we are putting the possibilities of 5G closer to industries, businesses and enterprises operating in the city.”
Earlier in August, Smart and Ericsson signed an MOU to deploy the country’s first 5G pilot network by the first half of 2019.
Under the MOU, the 5G network will be first deployed in Luzon, the country’s largest and most populous island where about a third of the population work and live.
The 3GPP compliant 5G Trial System that will be deployed in Smart includes Ericsson 5G RAN, Core and Transport solutions.
The 5G pilot deployment will allow Smart to explore industry partnership engagements, collaborate with schools and universities, and further develop competence in 5G.