NOW teams up with Korea’s SK Telecom for 5G rollout

Ralf Rivas
After losing the bid for the 3rd major telco last year, NOW Corporation gets up and joins the race for providing 5G services in the Philippines

PARTNERSHIP. NOW Corporation and SK Telecom team up for 5G. Photo from NOW Corporation

MANILA, Philippines – NOW Corporation and its telecommunications arm NOW Telecom entered into a strategic partnership with Korean telco giant SK Telecom to roll out the much-hyped 5G network in the Philippines.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Monday, October 28, NOW said that it is working with SK Telecom for the technical roadmap planning, network conceptualization and design, and the establishment of 5G standalone network. The companies are also working on business-to-business service development for the 5G network, which is 10 times much faster than 4G.

SK Telecom is the first to launch a 5G commercial service in the world and has covered most cities in South Korea.

With SK Telecom’s global leadership in 5G, NOW can leapfrog competition and hit the mobile gigabit ground running with almost zero trial and error. Imagine the kind of compelling customer experience enjoyed by Koreans from 5G to arrive on our shores by a flick of a finger! That’s what this collaboration is all about,” said NOW’s Mel Velarde.

NOW has a congressional franchise to operate and provide telecommunications services throughout the Philippines. 

It also has a cellular mobile license holder like Smar, Globe, and Dito Telecommunity. However, unlike Dito, NOW does not have enough frequencies to operate as big as the major telco players in terms of cellular services. 

Globe is the 1st to offer 5G services in the Philippines and the 3rd in Southeast Asia.

Smart is also launching 5G services soon and previously tested a videocall reaching speeds of 700 megabits per second.

Dito is set to launch 5G in 2020.

For now, 5G technology is limited to broadband or home services. Availability on smartphones will only come as new phones for it are developed. –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.