The commercial launch of 5G in the Philippines will bring not only “super-fast” internet for mobile phone users but will also introduce a new generation of digital services for both individual consumers and enterprise customers, according to officials of PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. (Smart).
“5G is a major milestone in the development of mobile phone services and digital technologies,” Ramon Isberto, PLDT-Smart Public Affairs Head and First Vice President, said in an interview. “It is a platform that enables new technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, cloud computing and other digital services, that when combined, will not only enhance existing services but also make possible a new generation of wireless services.”
Initially, 5G’s fiber-like speeds will improve entertainment services such as video viewing and e-sports and e-games.
“Through your 5G-capable handsets, you can enjoy the streaming of high-movement videos such coverage of sports events. You can now also enjoy e-sports and cloud-gaming and play your favorite PC games on mobile devices because of 5G,” said Lloyd Manaloto, Vice President for Corporate Marketing and Strategy at Smart.
Moving forward, 5G will make possible new services such as wireless sensors for the automation of factories, seaports and airports, for traffic management and e-health services. It can also power the remote control of industrial devices and vehicles.
Last July, Smart announced the commercial deployment of its 5G mobile phone network. In its initial phase, Smart Signature, Infinity, and other Smart postpaid subscribers enjoyed the super-fast data service of Smart 5G in key business districts of Metro Manila using Smart-certified handsets with 5G-activated SIMs.
Isberto and Manaloto explained that customers need to shift to 5G handsets to enjoy the new mobile service.
“To fully enjoy the benefits of 5G, people will need 5G-capable devices. The good news is, we are seeing more and more affordable devices in the coming months so that more people can benefit from 5G,” Isberto said.
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.