Smart 5G teleconsultation Argao5G

Smart’s 5G site in Argao enables mountain telemedicine

PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) has fired up more 5G sites across the country, underscoring the company’s commitment to providing nationwide connectivity, particularly 5G.

With its fast-tracked rollout, more communities have also been reached by Smart 5G’s data service, which is now in more than 3,000 sites across the country. One of these is Barangay Linut-od, a mountain barangay in Argao in the province of Cebu, situated 23-kilometers away from the town proper. The availability of this technology in the area has enabled remote patient health consultation or telemedicine.

“Rolling out the network in an archipelago and the countryside presents various unique challenges,” said Mario Tamayo, head of Technology at PLDT and Smart. “But we are committed to expanding our network and making sure our technology reaches all communities and have the best customer experience with Smart.”

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Mountain telemedicine

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The COVID-19 pandemic has made telemedicine the practical mode of patient-doctor consultations, at least for those with strong connectivity. ​It offers a low-cost and more convenient means of delivering healthcare services that can support mountain communities and reach more residents living in far-flung areas like Linut-od.

Argao’s community doctor, Dr. Stanley Caminero operates two charity clinics in Argao: one in the municipality’s town proper and one in barangay Linut-od. With telco facilities enhancing the delivery of medical services, efforts at promoting healthcare can now reach longer distances and underserved communities.

Network signal

“A strong network signal is a huge help in our advocacy to treat patients, which is made possible by telemedicine. Patients can directly contact us whenever they feel sick or if they are in need of a consultation, especially if they cannot immediately proceed to the city hospital,” said Dr. Caminero.

According to Smart, since it fired up its cell site in Linut-od, Argao, in 2019, the delivery of essential health services in the barangay has also improved.

Dr. Caminero underscores the value of fast and reliable connectivity in enabling a more inclusive healthcare service, especially in unserved and underserved communities, “Through Smart’s 5G signal, we can assure quality service and accurate diagnoses to our patients. I hope for the continuous connectivity advancement in our mountain barangays, especially those areas that are still not reached by network providers. It can greatly aid us, especially in treating patients living in the mountains with little access to quality healthcare service.”

Smart’s 5G nationwide rollout

Launched last year, Smart’s 5G service was quickly expanded to cover key cities in Visayas and Mindanao. Continuing this big push for 5G in the country, Smart also recently expanded its Unli 5G offer to cover all Smart 5G sites nationwide.

5G, the latest upgrade in wireless communications, offers fiber-like data speeds on mobile and ultra-low latency, enabling excellent customer experience in uploading and downloading large files, uninterrupted playing of online games, seamless streaming of high-resolution videos, and next-level audio-video call experience which aids mountain telemedicine, among others.