PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is rolling out its commercial 5G service to key cities in Visayas and Mindanao, becoming the first Philippine telco to launch 5G services nationwide.
Smart, which launched its 5G service commercially in July, is rolling out Smart 5G in key areas in Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao. These areas add to the live Smart 5G sites in Makati Central Business District (CBD), Bonifacio Global City CBD, Araneta City, Mall of Asia Bay Area, North Avenue in Quezon City, Taft Avenue in Manila, Ortigas CBD, New Clark City in Pampanga, EDSA, and in strategic locations in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and the cities of Manila, Quezon City, Makati, Taguig, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Paranaque, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Navotas, San Juan, and Pasay.
“The commercial launch of 5G underscores our commitment to bring the best digital technologies to our customers across the country,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer.
“As we continue to lead the way in 5G in the Philippines, we are now bringing Smart 5G’s super-fast data service to even more customers as we expand into Visayas and Mindanao and extend our Smart 5G service to our Prepaid customers as well,” Panlilio said.
Panlilio added that the rollout of 5G in more areas in the country complements the deployment of Smart’s LTE network and the expansion of PLDT’s fiber infrastructure. “Combined with our fiber and 4G/LTE resources, we are providing our customers with the widest range of powerful connectivity services, as the country’s only fully integrated telco and digital services provider.”
To date, Smart’s high-speed broadband service serves 95% of the country’s population. Supporting Smart’s mobile network is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country at 360,000 kilometers.
Commercial 5G service
The latest evolution in wireless communications, 5G offers fiber-like data speeds on mobile and ultra-low latency, which enable next-level customer experience in uploading and downloading large files, streaming high-resolution videos, playing online games, and benefitting from other cutting-edge applications.
After being initially available to Smart Signature, Infinity, and other Smart postpaid subscribers, Smart 5G is now available to Smart Prepaid subscribers, who can now enjoy the super-fast data service of Smart 5G in selected areas using Smart-certified 5G handsets with 5G-activated SIMs.
Subscribers can also experience Smart 5G first-hand with the 5G-ready handsets featured at select Smart Stores in Metro Manila, including Smart Tower in Makati City, Gateway Mall, SM Mall of Asia, SM Megamall, and The World Plaza in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
Smart has also teamed up with smartphone manufacturers like Huawei, Samsung, realme and vivo in offering Smart 5G-certified devices at Smart Stores nationwide and on the Smart Online Store at store.smart.com.ph.
Leader in 5G
The strategy to deploy 5G has been embedded in Smart’s network planning over the past five years. PLDT’s wireless subsidiary started conducting tests with 5G in 2016. In 2018, it fired up the country’s first 5G base stations in Makati with Huawei and the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga with Ericsson. Last year, Smart also launched the first Smart 5G Lifestyle hub and 5G-enabled shopping mall In Araneta City, as well as the first Smart 5G campus at the Ateneo de Manila University with Nokia. These multi-vendor collaborations bring global use cases for Enterprise customers to innovate and fast-track their digital transformation journey.
It also recently fired up 5G at the Gariath Concepts esports venue in Quezon City, the first 5G-powered esports hub in the country, and at the TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong City, the first 5G Media City.
The 5G deployment plan involved a steady investment effort by PLDT and Smart that has amounted to nearly P260 billion in overall capital expenditure (capex) from 2015 to 2019. For 2020, amid the regained momentum of the company’s network rollout efforts following the easing of lockdown restrictions, PLDT has leveled up its target capital expenditures back up to about Php70 billion.