Telcos ramp up 5G rollout

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    Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. have accelerated their fifth generation (5G) and Long Term Evolution (LTE) rollout to further improve internet services.

    PLDT Inc. mobile unit Smart said it ramped up its 5G network coverage and partnered with device manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, vivo and realme to help subscribers upgrade to 5G devices.

    “In addition to being in an area with 5G coverage, unlocking the full potential of the 5G network that we are putting in place across the country also entails using the appropriate device,” said Mario Tamayo, PLDT and Smart head of technology.

    Smart expects the prices of 5G devices to further go down with the availability of more devices in the market.

    Last year, only a handful of such phones were available in the market, and those retailed for around P50,000. Today, over two dozen devices are now out there, with a few models retailing at about P15,000.

    In less than a year, there may even be sub-P10,000 devices, according to Jane Basas, Smart senior vice president and head of consumer wireless business.

    Meanwhile, Globe has deployed 5G sites in 1,069 areas in Metro Manila as well as Visayas and Mindanao as of January 2021.

    Aside from 5G, Globe also emerged as the fastest growing 4G LTE network in the country, ending 2020 with the highest number of cell sites among telecommunications companies.

    Around 90 percent of Globe’s cell towers are equipped with 4G LTE technology to ensure better data experience for users. 4G, launched in late 2000, produces much faster speeds for better quality video and music streaming, gaming experience and video conferencing, among other benefits. Globe is aiming to make 4G LTE the new standard of mobile data in the country.