Amid preparations for the coming of 5G technology in the country, PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) and technology partner Huawei Technologies Phils. Inc. have successfully breached 5G speeds of over 14Gbps during a test held at the recently launched PLDT-Smart 5G TechnoLab.
The speeds were achieved using 5G New Radio, in which the second set of global standards have been recently ratified. Earlier this month, Smart and Huawei also attained 5G speeds of 6.5Gbps during another test inside the TechnoLab.
“The coming of 5G opens up many opportunities to offer a wider selection of relevant services and solutions to our customers,” said Eric R. Alberto, PLDT and Smart Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer.
“Now that global standards have already been approved, we are already investing in future-proofing our network and making sure that our network is ready for 5G,” he added.
“To be able to deliver 5G services to our customers in the future, we have begun upgrading our network’s Core and Transport elements,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.
These include upgrading to fiber the backhaul connecting the network’s cell sites around the country alongside deploying 5G-ready equipment in the ongoing LTE roll-out.
“As we continue to ramp up the roll-out of LTE, LTE-Advanced and carrier aggregation technology nationwide, we are also making sure that these equipment are already future-proof and 5G-capable,” Tamayo added.
Designed to be a sustainable environment for innovative services, the 5G Technolab is PLDT-Smart’s flagship facility for the research and development, standardization, and testing of 5G, or fifth-generation wireless broadband technologies and services.
With its capability to deliver extremely high speeds coupled with low latency, 5G opens up exciting possibilities for Internet of Things (IoT) applications for Filipinos, particularly in healthcare and smart cities.
The technologies showcased in the 5G Technolab include Smart’s software-defined and fully virtualized network elements, the next generation 5G mmWave NR (Wireless) and XGS-PON (Fixed), which supports up to 10Gbps uplink and downlink speeds for bandwidth-heavy activities like future Virtual Reality, 4K displays and massive IoT deployments. These latest advancements will enable other services such as Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Wifi (VoWIFI), IoT platforms and devices related to industrial utility meters and smart city solutions.
Smart has been testing 5G since 2016, when it achieved with technology partner Nokia 5G speeds of 2.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps) using 100 MHz with latency of just 1 millisecond over a ‘live’ network–the first in the Philippines.
Months later, PLDT and Smart announced that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Huawei “to shape the strategic and commercial development of the 5G ecosystem in the Philippines.” In particular, the two parties were looking to identify and develop the areas of technological innovation needed to deliver 5G, which is expected to provide the foundation for the digital connected society.
Parent company PLDT has committed historic levels of resources for network transformation. For 2018, PLDT capex is expected to reach P58 billion, which includes allocations for the aggressive roll-out of its fiber broadband service, which also supports the stepped-up deployment of the mobile network by providing high-capacity links for cellular base stations.