Smart unveiled the 5G facilities in the media center during PLDT Enterprise’s “Keep Moving Forward” event last August 4, 2020. At the launch, the company also rolled out its latest roster of wireless services and solutions for Enterprise customers. The lineup includes the first commercial mobile enterprise 5G plans in the country.
Smart highlights that 5G offers users a more flexible network. It is highly customizable, which meets the requirements of many enterprise customers.
With Smart 5G, TV5’s studios are now capable of delivering broadcasts on the 5G network. Moreover, the employees can explore how to use their Smart 5G-certified devices for live coverage and newsgathering.
Leader in 5G
The strategy to deploy 5G is part of Smart’s network planning over the past five years. PLDT’s wireless subsidiary started conducting tests with 5G in 2016. 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. Last year, Smart also launched the first Smart 5G Lifestyle hub and 5G-enabled shopping mall in Araneta City. It also introduced first Smart 5G campus at the Ateneo de Manila University.
Smart’s 5G mobile network also recently went live as a commercial service. In this initial phase of its commercial deployment, Smart Signature, Infinity, and other Smart postpaid subscribers can enjoy the super-fast data service of Smart 5G. This will soon be accessed in key business districts of Metro Manila using Smart-certified handsets with 5G-activated SIMs.
These areas include the Makati Central Business District (CBD), Bonifacio Global City CBD, Araneta City, SM Megamall, and Mall of Asia Bay Area. Smart 5G is also coming to high-traffic areas such North Avenue in Quezon City and Taft Avenue in Manila. Additionally, it will soon be available in Ortigas CBD and Clark Green City in Pampanga.
Steady investment effort
The 5G deployment plan involved a steady investment effort by PLDT and Smart. The investment has amounted to nearly P260 billion in overall capital expenditure (capex) spend over the past five years. In 2019 alone, the PLDT Group’s capex reached a record P72.9 billion. Moreover, 2020 capex is expected to reach P70 billion despite the slowdown in network rollout due to the quarantine restrictions.
This capex program enabled PLDT and Smart to build the digital infrastructure needed to support the deployment first of 4G/LTE and later 5G. This involved the deployment of an extensive optic fiber network. The PLDT Group’s fiber network is the most pervasive in the country and extends to over nearly 360,000 kilometers as of June 2020.
With this extensive fiber network, Smart has been able to fast-track the nationwide rollout of its 4G/LTE service that when combined with its 3G service now provides high-speed mobile internet service to over 93% of the country’s cities and municipalities and 95% of the population. Moreover, in its ongoing LTE and LTE-Advanced roll-out, Smart has been installing 5G-capable equipment which will enable Smart to deploy 5G easier and faster.