PLDT’s wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has teamed up with Japanese telco leader NTT Docomo to launch 5G roaming services in Japan.
The partnership between NTT Docomo and Smart, the wireless subsidiary of the Philippines’ largest integrated telco PLDT, is another step in Smart’s extensive 5G roaming roll out. It follows successful activations in Australia with Vodafone; in China with China Mobile; in Bahrain, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia with Zain; full 5G roaming coverage in United Arab Emirates with Etisalat and du; in Taiwan with FarEasTone; and in South Korea with KT Corp.
NTT Docomo is Japan's leading mobile operator with over 80 million subscriptions, and is one of Asia's 5G pioneers, having started its basic research on 5G as far back as 2010. Today, Docomo continues steadily expanding and enhancing its 5G network service across hundreds of Japanese cities, across all prefectures of the country.
Smart prepaid and postpaid customers who are in Japan can enjoy 5G data roaming speeds using their Smart 5G-capable SIM and 5G device. Customers who subscribe to the GigaRoam Japan plan will get a 3GB data package for only P1,299, valid for 10 days.
Smart's recently launched GigaRoam packs provide more data allocation with extended validity and are designed to give roamers seamless connectivity while overseas. All they need to do is to go to roam.smart.com.ph while they are abroad to avail of these special packages.
This year, as the world prepares to ease travel restrictions amid the worldwide vaccine rollout, Smart plans to launch more 5G roaming partnerships to provide world-class roaming services to its travelers.
“This partnership with NTT Docomo helps us provide an unmatched 5G roaming experience for Smart customers in Japan,” said Alice Ramos, Vice President and Head of Roaming and Consumer Business at Smart. “This is consistent with Smart’s collective goal to bring world-class services to the Filipino people," Ramos added.
5G leaders NTT Docomo and Smart are also members of the CONEXUS Mobile Alliance, which is composed of nine member-telcos in Asia that are at the forefront of delivering innovative, customer-friendly services to their respective customers who frequently travel on business.
CONEXUS is currently chaired by Katrina Luna-Abelarde, President and CEO at PLDT Global and head of International and Carrier Business. Despite roaming being the worst-hit telecom division by COVID-19, Smart and CONEXUS have continued to lay down roaming service improvements for international travelers.
5G in the Philippines
In the Philippines, Smart remains at the forefront of the 5G revolution. Smart launched its commercial 5G service in July last year and was the first in the country to roll out its 5G service nationwide.
Smart has also continued the nationwide roll-out of its ultrafast 5G network, which also includes strategic sites in Metro Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Iloilo, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Davao.
Supporting Smart's 5G network is PLDT's fiber infrastructure, which is the most extensive in the country at more than 429,000 kilometers as of December 2020.