PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Telecommunications, Inc. and Ericsson have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to finally bring the country’s first 5G pilot network by the first half of 2019, initially in Luzon, as this is the country’s largest and most populous island.
The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) compliant 5G Trial System which will be deployed in Smart will include Ericsson 5G RAN, Core and Transport solutions.
On the other hand, the 5G deployment will allow Smart to explore industry partnership engagements, work together with different schools and universities, and further develop competence in 5G.
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According to Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart SVP for Network Planning and Engineering, for them to deliver 5G services to their customers, they are upgrading their network’s core and transport elements. In addition to this, Smart is upgrading to fiber the backhaul connecting the network’s cell sites around the country and deploys 5G-ready equipment in the ongoing LTE roll-out.
In June, Smart initiated its 5G Technolab, the company’s flagship facility for research and development, standardization, and testing of 5G. Prior to this, Smart has been testing 5G together with Nokia and Huawei Technologies Philippines.
At the signing event, company executives PLDT Chief Corporate Services Officer Ray C. Espinosa, PLDT Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan, Ericsson’s Head of Market Area South East Asia, Oceania and India Nunzio Mirtillo and Martin Wiktorin, Head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei, Philippines and Pacific Islands were present.