By Emmie V. Abadilla
The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT), together with its wireless subsidiary, Smart Communications (Smart), and technology partner Huawei Technologies Philippines are jointly conducting research and development on 5G (fifth-generation wireless broadband).
In a recent visit to the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, China, PLDT and Smart Chairman, President and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Jacky Gao Kexin, CEO of Huawei Philippines.
Under the MOU, PLDT and Smart will work with Huawei to shape the strategic and commercial development of the 5G ecosystem in the Philippines.
First, they will identify and develop areas of technological innovation to deliver 5G before setting up a 5G innovation lab and creating a showcase network.
Right now, Smart is in the middle of a multi-year, multi-million dollar nationwide network expansion to improve both coverage and quality of service, particularly its 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) service.
A major leg of the network expansion was recently completed in Metro Davao, where Smart users are already reporting much improved mobile data experience.
The rollout is already underway in Metro Manila and in Metro Cebu to boost Smart’s voice, SMS, and mobile data services, specially its indoor LTE coverage, in these urban centers.
An upgrade of PLDT’s fixed access networks, part of the company’s transformation toward 5G-readiness, is also underway.
Initial tests done by Smart have found that the ongoing network rollout in and around Metro Manila has begun to pay off, with tests in Rizal province showing LTE download speeds of up to 18 Mbps, while tests in selected indoor and outdoor areas in Cebu have also generated download speeds in excess of 20 Mbps.
Recent findings of J.P. Morgan Securities’ Asia Network Quality Report for the last quarter of 2016 found that among local carriers, Smart posted the highest overall LTE download speeds at 9.17 Mbps.
The report, which cited crowd-sourced data gathered by wireless coverage research firm Open Signal, also found Smart leading in NCR for 3G, with download speeds of 2.85 Mbps.
Smart is in the middle of a multi-year, multi-million dollar nationwide network expansion program to improve both coverage and quality of service, particularly its 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) service. A major leg of this network expansion was recently completed in Metro Davao, where Smart users are already reporting much improved mobile data experience.