Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), wireless arm of the country’s largest integrated telco PLDT, is accelerating the rollout of its 5G network across Cebu.
Customers with Smart 5G-certified phones can now unlock the capabilities of Smart 5G’s superfast speeds, ultra-low latency, and higher efficiency in select areas in the cities of Cebu, Lapu-Lapu, Carcar, Mandaue and Talisay.
Smart, which launched its 5G service commercially in July, was the first to roll out Smart 5G nationwide and has also fired up 5G in Boracay and Iloilo.
Smart also recently unveiled its new Signature 5G Plans and upgraded its Smart Signature SIM-Only Plans by exclusively bundling them with a Netflix Mobile Plan subscription to provide better experience to customers and more relevant content.
“We have been hard at work to provide our customers with the best network, which we believe is the most critical form of support needed to enable our customers’ digital transformation,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart Communications President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer.
“We will continue to roll out 5G in more areas in the country, as 5G opens the door to an even higher level of customer experience in terms of enjoying high-definition video, playing esports and using new digital services,” Panlilio added.
Smart 5G is also seen to make Smart, which was recently cited by third-party analytics firm Ookla as the Philippines’ fastest mobile network in 2020, even faster.
“Our 5G future is here, and we are making it simpler for our customers to maximize the country’s fastest network–made even faster with 5G,” said Jane J. Basas, SVP and Head of Consumer Wireless Business at Smart. “Smart 5G is available for our Prepaid and Postpaid subscribers, provided they are in a Smart 5G covered area and are using a Smart-certified 5G device.”
With these latest developments, Smart remains at the forefront of the 5G revolution in the Philippines with the continued nationwide roll-out of its ultrafast 5G network, which also includes strategic sites in Metro Manila, Cavite, Davao, Laguna, New Clark City in Pampanga, and Rizal.
Last year, Smart with its technology partners Ericsson, Huawei and a leading 5G smartphone vendor, also successfully tested 5G Carrier Aggregation (CA), making it one of the first mobile operators in Asia Pacific to test CA in the live 5G network. CA combines two or more separate bands of radio frequencies to create a bigger pipe for even faster data rates, increasing the speed thus improving the overall 5G user experience.
Smart has been conducting tests with 5G starting 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. In 2019, 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 with Nokia. These multi-vendor collaborations bring global use cases for Enterprise customers to innovate and fast-track their digital transformation journey.
It also recently fired up 5G at the Gariath Concepts esports venue in Quezon City, the first 5G-powered esports hub in the country, and at the TV5 Media Center in Mandaluyong City, the first 5G Media City. It also recently brought the country’s first 5G-powered sports broadcast at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) in Clark Freeport in Pampanga.
These initiatives form a large part of the PLDT Group’s sustained investments in their network, which totaled some P260 billion from 2015 to 2019. To meet the requirements of their mobile and fixed line subscribers, PLDT and Smart are prepared to invest between P88 billion and P92 billion in capital expenditures in 2021.
Supporting Smart’s 5G network is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which is the most extensive in the country at more than 429,000 kilometers as of December.
Smart’s networks currently cover 96% of the population and are present in 95% of cities and municipalities. As of December, Smart has also increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000.