Ericsson delivering 5G pilot for Smart in Philippines

Ericsson delivering 5G pilot for Smart in Philippines

Smart Communications will conduct the Philippines’ first commercial 5G trial next year in partnership with Ericsson.

The pilot will launch in the first half of next year in Luzon, which has the largest population of any island in the Philippines. The trial will deploy Ericsson’s core, transport and 5G RAN technology. Smart is the mobile unit of PLDT, one of the two operators that have an effective duopoly in the Philippines.

PLDT chairman and CEO Manuel Pangilinan said of the trial: “As 5G opens up more opportunities for new services and solutions to offer to our customers, we are investing in future-proofing our network and making sure that our network is ready for 5G.”

Martin Wiktorin, Ericsson’s head of Singapore, Brunei, Philippines and Pacific Islands, noted that reducing latency and boosting capacity would bring about innovative new use cases for 5G technology. He also observed that unexplored business models would create unforeseen revenue streams.

Smart’s SVP for network planning and engineering Mario Tamayo added that the operator is overhauling its network in preparation for offering 5G services. As part of the upgrade, it is installing fibre connectivity at its backhaul cell sites across the archipelago and rolling out 5G-ready radio equipment throughout its network.

The operator’s first foray into 5G technology was in December 2016, via a collaboration with Nokia. Testing via 100MHz of spectrum, the companies attained 5G speeds of 2.5GB/s. In June this year, that figure soared to 6.5Gb/s in a trial with Huawei conducted at Smart’s 5G TechnoLab.

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