Smart, Nokia team up for 5G in universities

PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and Nokia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to pilot the deployment of fifth-generation (5G) wireless broadband technologies and services in schools.

Under the MoU, PLDT, Smart and Nokia will collaborate in identifying innovative real world and enterprise-led 5G standalone (5G SA) solutions, such as artificial intelligence, drones, and the Internet of Things (IoT) applications, for use in schools, colleges, and universities. This will be done through the combined capabilities of the PLDT-Smart 5G Technolab in Makati and the Nokia Technology Center in Quezon City.

5G SA relies solely on 5G for data transmission and allows the full benefit of 5G capabilities to be tested and demonstrated. In contrast, 5G NSA (non-standalone) combines the use of 5G and existing 4G/LTE resources to transmit data.

“5G is not a theory anymore,” said Joachim Horn, chief technology and information adviser at PLDT-Smart. “The main reason for the deployment is to explore the relevant use cases in the Philippines and drive its usage.”

The use cases Horn said include capacity augmentation of the 4G, innovative applications, and fixed fiber use which is deemed the most popular among the list.

“5G is going to be about connected consumers and smart cities, which are growth areas for operators,” said Jae Won, head of the Asia-Pacific and Japan at Nokia.


This is the third time Smart rolled out 5G technology with its partners and with different sectors. The first launch is in Clark Smart City where the telecommunications company partnered with Swedish company Ericsson. The second is a partnership with Chinese technology company Huawei for the 5G rollout in Makati central business district.

“We are happy to partner with Nokia to help develop intelligent solutions and technologies for the benefit of the Philippine education sector,” said PLDT-Smart chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan who led the MoU in a media release.

The MoU also covers deploying 5G SA technologies and innovative products and services, such as 5G handsets and applications, for example.

Smart and Nokia first explored 5G in 2016, when they achieved speeds of 2.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps) using 100 MHz with a latency of just 1 millisecond over a ‘live’ network — the first in the Philippines.

This development is the latest in PLDT and Smart’s series of 5G initiatives. PLDT and Smart are armed with both fixed and wireless infrastructure powered by an extensive fiber network with over 244,000 kilometers.

In its ongoing LTE and LTE-Advanced roll-out, Smart is also installing 5G-capable equipment. To deliver 5G services, Smart is also currently upgrading its network’s Core and Transport elements. This includes upgrading to fiber the backhaul connecting the network’s cell sites nationwide.

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