Smart Communications 5G

Smart is first PH telco to carry out ‘network slicing’ on 5G SA

Following the launch of its 5G Standalone (5G SA) base stations, PLDT’s wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) has successfully tested its 5G SA network slicing capabilities at the PLDT-Smart Technolab.

Standalone refers to a 5G network that is capable of running on pure 5G mode, unaided by existing 4G/LTE infrastructure. Earlier this year, Smart became one of the first operators in the world to start enabling 5G Standalone in its network.

Network slicing is one of the most advanced and transformational capabilities of 5G SA, which benefits operators and customers alike. Network slicing allows operators to dedicate and optimize or “slice” virtual portions of their network for specific use cases or for specific customers’ needs, allowing services with different requirements to be carried in the same network resource.

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“This milestone underscores our commitment to using the latest advantages of 5G to elevate the quality of our customers’ experience,” said Mario Tamayo, head of Technology at PLDT and Smart. “5G network slicing paves the way for exciting new use cases that only 5G SA can support, such as creating network slices for gaming, for supporting private 5G networks for enterprises, or for powering mission-critical services for smart cities.”

Premium speeds

During the demo, Smart used Ericsson equipment hosted at the Technolab and in Clark, Pampanga to achieve provisioned “standard” and “premium” speeds using OPPO X2 phones.

“This is particularly exciting for our Enterprise customers, because Smart’s network slicing capability allows them to use the connectivity we provide, made more reliable and fit to serve varying business objectives,” said Jojo Gendrano, head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Group. “We will continue to evolve the capability of 5G SA as we work with our Enterprise customers, and validate with them the most relevant use cases.”

This latest innovation is part of Smart’s efforts in pioneering 5G in the Philippines. Ramping up its 5G initiatives, Smart fired up its commercial 5G SA sites in Makati City in September, powering up one of the first 5G SA networks in the world. Smart also made its first successful Voice over New Radio (VoNR) call as early as July this year at the Technolab.

As of September, Smart has fired up around 6,400 5G base stations.