Editor's note: Since 2016, Smart has been testing its 5G capabilities with tech partners. As the first local network to rollout 5G, it remains at the forefront of providing Filipinos with faster internet.
Mobile services provider Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is further expanding the rollout of its 5G network across all Metro Manila cities and in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, and Pampanga.
Smart Prepaid and Postpaid subscribers can maximize Smart 5G's superfast speeds, ultra-low latency, and higher efficiency, as long as they are using Smart-certified 5G devices in areas with Smart 5G coverage in Metro Manila's 17 cities and municipalities, the cities of Angeles and Mabalacat in Pampanga, Bacoor in Cavite, and Binan and Santa Rosa in Laguna.
"As we ramp-up our Smart 5G rollout across Metro Manila and the rest of the country, we are bringing our customers closer to an even higher level of customer experience in terms of enjoying high-definition video, playing esports, and using new digital services," said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart Communications president and CEO and PLDT chief revenue officer.
"Recently, Smart was once again hailed by Ookla to be the fastest mobile network in the Philippines. With Smart 5G, the fastest will get even faster," Panlilio added.
The wireless arm of the country's largest integrated telco PLDT launched its 5G service commercially in July and was the first to roll-out 5G nationwide.
"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.
In December, Smart unveiled its new Signature 5G Plans. Recently, it also upgraded its Smart Signature SIM-Only Plans by exclusively bundling them with a Netflix Mobile Plan subscription to provide more relevant content and a better experience for customers.
With these 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 sites in Cebu, Boracay, Iloilo, and Davao.
Smart has been conducting tests with 5G starting in 2016.
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 the 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.
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 PLDT's sustained network investments, which totaled some P286.3 billion from 2016 to 2020. 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, 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. – Rappler.com