Smart fasttracks 5G rollout


    PLDT Inc. mobile unit Smart Communications, Inc. is expanding the rollout of its fifth generation (5G) network across all Metro Manila cities and in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, and Pampanga.

    “As we ramp-up our Smart 5G rollout across Metro Manila and the rest of the country, we are bringing our customers closer to an even higher level of customer experience in terms of enjoying high-definition video, playing esports and using new digital services,” said Alfredo Panlilio, Smart president and CEO and PLDT chief revenue officer.

    Smart prepaid and postpaid subscribers can maximize Smart 5G’s superfast speeds as they are using 5G devices in areas with Smart 5G coverage in Metro Manila’s 17 cities and municipalities, the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat in Pampanga, Bacoor in Cavite, and Binan and Santa Rosa in Laguna.

    Smart remains at the forefront of the 5G revolution in the Philippines with the continued nationwide rollout of its 5G network, which also includes sites in Cebu, Boracay, Iloilo, and Davao.

    The 5G technology has been embedded in Smart’s network planning over the past five years, and fired up the country’s first 5G base stations in Makati with Huawei and Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga with Ericsson in 2018.

    Last year, Smart with its technology partners Ericsson, Huawei and a leading 5G smartphone vendor, also successfully tested 5G Carrier Aggregation (CA), making it one of the first mobile operators in Asia Pacific to test CA in the live 5G network.

    These initiatives form a large part of PLDT’s sustained network investments, which totaled some P286.3 billion from 2016 to 2020.

    To meet the requirements of their mobile and fixed line subscribers, PLDT and Smart are prepared to invest between P88 billion and P92 billion in capital expenditures in 2021.

    Supporting Smart’s 5G network is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which is the most extensive in the country, is at more than 429,000 kilometers as of December.

    At present, Smart’s networks cover 96 percent of the population and are present in 95 percent of cities and municipalities. As of December, Smart has also increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000.

    Meanwhile, 5G download speed in the Philippines stood at 117.2 megabits per seconds (Mbps) which 10.1 times better than fourth generation network according to recent report from Opensignal.