Smart, Omnispace team-up for space-based 5G tech

Published August 18, 2022, 8:08 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla

Smart Communications, Inc. is collaborating with US-based Omnispace to explore the capabilities of space-based 5G communications using low earth orbit (LEO) satellites

The aim is to connect remote areas, incorporate Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors to monitor weather disturbances and natural calamities, and augment network coverage for disaster relief, maritime and telematics for vessels and equipment.

“This collaboration with Omnispace will allow our companies to work together to define use cases for the Philippine market,” according to Arvin L. Siena, Head of PLDT’s Technology Strategy and Transformation Office.

To future-proof its services, including Smart 5G, PLDT explores opportunities to team up with companies like Omnispace to test the interoperability of its network with the latter’s 3GPP-compliant 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN), which will support the 5G ecosystem of the future, Siena elaborated.

Having launched Omnispace Spark-1 and Spark-2 in April and May, respectively, the company recently completed the deployment phase of “Omnispace Spark™.”

This program is the initial phase in the company’s development and delivery of the world’s first global 5G-capable satellite network.

The Omnispace 5G NTN global network will interconnect with terrestrial or land-based mobile networks to serve mobile subscribers using the company’s 2 GHz mobile satellite spectrum allocation and operating in 3GPP band n256.

As the world’s first 3GPP-compliant 5G NTN system, the Omnispace network is expected to deliver the power of 5G directly to billions of devices everywhere, extending the reach of mobile connectivity to enable people and assets to communicate in real-time through a single, seamless global service.

“This collaborative agreement with Smart Communications shares our vision of delivering reliable mobile connectivity to consumer, government and enterprise users, everywhere,” remarked Brian Pemberton, Omnispace.

“Together with Smart, we seek to bridge the digital divide, while also providing the communications infrastructure to power the development of the Filipino economy of the future.”

PLDT and Smart’s pioneering foray into satellite-powered communication is part of a broader initiative to deliver world-class customer services across the country, complementing the nationwide rollout of their fiber infrastructure, and wireless networks based on 4G and 5G technologies.