Ericsson and PLDT to launch 5G pilot network in the Philippines by 2019

15 August 2018 | Natalie Bannerman

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Ericsson and PLDT subsidiary, Smart Communications have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to develop 5G technology in the Philippines.

Under the terms of the agreement, the two will deploy a 5G pilot network in Luzon, the biggest and most populated island in the Philippines, which is due to go live in early 2019.   

“We are committed to help bring to the Philippines the latest technologies that will advance the digital transformation of the country, “ said Manuel V Pangilinan, chairman, president and CEO of PLDT and Smart Communications. “In line with this, we have partnered with Ericsson to conduct a pilot deployment of 5G in Luzon. This will open the door to a new wave of innovative services and solutions that will profoundly change the way our people live and how businesses, government and communities in the country conduct their affairs.”

The pilot will leverage Ericsson’s 5G Radio Access Network, core and transport solutions, allowing Smart Communications to explores industry partnerships, collaborate with tertiary institutions such as academia and further develop 5G innovations.

“We believe first movers in 5G can reshape the market, grow market share and increase revenue streams. Combining improved capacity and ultra-low latency, 5G will help realise new use cases and business models and capture new revenue opportunities by addressing industry digitalisation,” said Martin Wiktorin, head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei, Philippines and Pacific Islands to RCR Wireless.

According to Mario Tamayo, senior vice president for network planning and engineering at PLDT and Smart Communications, Smart is reportedly in the process of upgrading its network’s core and transport elements, including converting backhaul that connects cell sites around the country to fibre, as well as deploying 5G-ready equipment as part of its LTE rollout.  

“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 are already future-proof and 5G-capable,” added Tamayo.

In addition to the MoU agreement and according to TelegeographyPLDT and Smart have also entered into a partnership with Huawei Technologies Philippines ‘to shape the strategic and commercial development of the 5G ecosystem in the Philippines’.