Publicly listed information and communications technology firm NOW Corporation, together with its telecom arm NOW Telecom, is going full blast in its bid to be among the first in the Philippines to fully exploit what the new 5G or fifth-generation wireless technology can offer.
This will be made possible through a partnership with SK Telecom (SKT), the largest telecom operator in South Korea. SKT, which launched the world’s first commercial 5G, is transferring Korea’s 5G technologies to the Philippines and will also export 5G B2B or business-to-business solutions to the country via Now.
NOW, which has established a fixed wireless access network, may also enter the mobile communications space with SKT as a strategic partner which will provide the latest technologies and consulting services for the entire process of 5G commercialization and offer B2B solutions.
According to NOW, SKT will support the entire process of 5G commercialization of the former in the Philippines.
Now Telecom chairman Mel Velarde pointed out that with SKT’s global leadership in 5G, NOW can leapfrog the competition and hit the mobile gigabit ground running with almost zero trial and error. “Imagine the kind of compelling customer experience enjoyed by Koreans from 5G to arrive on our shores by a flick of a finger. That’s what this collaboration is all about,” he said.
Meanwhile, NOW Corp. chairman Dr. Thomas Aquino emphasized that this partnership marks a significant step for NOW as it expands its network and joins forces with the number one telco operator that has launched 5G commercial services.
“5G is said to unleash gigabit of speeds and it is said to spur growth in the enterprise sector most especially in the areas of internet of things (iOT), and smart cities. We are excited for this partnership as we grow NOW in new horizons,” Aquino pointed out.
Earlier, NOW Telecom announced that it plans to adopt 5G technologies that allow the delivery of up to 20 gigabit per second speed to enterprises and homes. Now Telecom president Rodolfo Pantojo has explained that 5G will allow high wireless bandwidth in low latency scenarios, allowing for further complex technologies to exist, such as iOT.
NOW officials added that the partnership with SKT will help produce a more defined business strategy for the former and its execution programs for the next five to 10 years as the country begins to embrace 5G and its various applications.
The partnership shall leverage on SKT’s expertise to build an advanced telecom network. NOW and SKT will work together in developing 5G technology in the Philippines and the cooperation includes utilizing 5G enabled enterprise IT applications such as iOT (Internet of Things), enhanced media experience and smart office.
SKT is South Korea’s largest wireless carrier. Last April, SKT launched the world’s first commercial 5G, taking the lead over other countries.
The South Korean telco has also obtained the number one spot in terms of 5G subscribers in its country, covering major cities nationwide. It has launched 5G in clusters whereby it unleashes the real benefits of 5G namely service sector, major commercial areas, transportation hubs, and B2B segment.
Last July, SKT started the world’s first 5G roaming service with Swisscom and have also launched three innovative 5G AR and VR services to deliver immersive eSports broadcasting experience.
The trilateral agreement signed last Thursday night in Manila between NOW, NOW Telecom and SK Telecom covering NOW’s 5G play includes key areas of collaboration and development for 5G in the Philippines, namely technical roadmap planning, network conceptualization and design, 5G core network training, establishment of 5G stand-alone (SA) network commercial infrastructure, in-building solutions and 5G B2B service development.
As a strategic partner, SK Telecom will provide support for NOW in the area of 5G development, commercialization and quality advancement and optimization. This relationship also extends to advisory in the deployment of telecommunications networks which include technology and vendor selection.
SKT and NOW will soon draw up a phased 5G commercialization plan as part of the agreement.
NOW Telecom is a grantee of a 25-year congressional franchise during the 17th Congress to carry on the business of providing telecommunications services throughout the Philippines and other countries and territories, including outer space. It is also a grantee of an authority to install, operate and maintain cellular mobile telephone system (CMTS) from the National Telecommunications Commission.
NOW Telecom is one of the four mobile cellular license holders in the country. The others are Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, and Dito Telecommunity.
The partnership signing last Thursday was attended by Shim Sang-soo, vice-president and head of SK Telecom infra business; NOW Corp. chairman Dr. Thomas Aquino; and NOW Telecom chairman Mel Velarde.
The SKT official revealed that since the world’s first 5G commercialization, SK Telecom has been in talks with various players for cooperation in 5G.
He said that through this cooperation partnership with the Philippines and many more, SKT aims to pave the way where Korea’s hidden champions can advance into the global market together with SKT.
“SK Telecom is pleased to enter into a strategic partnership with NOW Corporation and NOW Telecom to deploy 5G network in the Philippines. SK Telecom will work closely with NOW to achieve 5G network innovation to deliver greater value to NOW customers,” Shim Sang-soo said.