By Emmie V. Abadilla
After firing up the country’s first 5G cell sites and launching the first Smart 5G cities in 2018, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are set to sign more 5G partnerships and pilot more 5G-powered digital services, and launch more Smart 5G cities across the country in 2019.
“We want to find out the right way to do 5G in the Philippines because 5G is different from any of the past technologies, 2G, 3G and 4G. 5G will provide a more flexible and powerful platform for more compelling and relevant services,” says PLDT-Smart chief technology and information advisor Joachim Horn.
“5G is versatile. We can actually customize its ability according to the use cases, and there are many new opportunities that we need to take time to test out. That is exactly what we are now starting to do,” he pointed out.
Emphasizing that 5G is about more than just speeds, Horn stressed that 5G will not be able to replace fiber.
“Our focus for future 5G services is initially for Enterprise customers, for whom it will mean completely new use cases, like with drones, Internet of Things and other specialized services, for example. These services can use 5G’s capabilities like low latency, very high resilience and very high reliability.”
In 2019, PLDT and Smart will be testing more 5G use cases for various industries to demonstrate the possibilities of 5G.
“We plan to start work on new smart cities in the first half of next year. They will be in different areas, with different interests, and with different vendors,” Horn disclosed.
“This is because we want to explore with various types of customers how 5G can be set up for their particular use cases. When we do that, we will acquire the know how to best roll-out 5G to provide the best customer experience from Day 1.”
With their combined fixed and wireless networks powered by a fiber system now at over 221,000 kilometers, PLDT and Smart are positioned to deploy 5G in the country.