Shutdown threats aside, Smart begins rolling out 5G promise

Industry giant PLDT Inc.’s Smart Communications is joining the 5G arena with commercial services going live on Thursday in key parts of Metro Manila.5G is the next generation mobile standard that promises ultrafast internet and minimal lag, making it ideal for a range of consumer and even industrial purposes. It is often cited as the foundation of emerging technologies in automated manufacturing, driverless cars and even remote surgery.Internet-powered applications have also grown more crucial in recent months as movements remain restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The launch of Smart’s 5G service enables the Philippines to level up and join the ranks of countries utilizing the next generation of mobile technology,” Alfredo Panlilio, PLDT chief revenue officer and Smart president and CEO, said in a statement.“For our customers, it opens the door to an even higher level of customer experience in terms of enjoying video, playing esports and using more powerful digital services,” he added.The initial launch areas are the Makati Central Business District (CBD), Bonifacio Global City CBD, Araneta City, SM Megamall and Mall of Asia Bay Area.

Smart 5G is also being rolled out in key high-traffic areas such as North Avenue in Quezon City, Taft Avenue in Manila, Ortigas CBD and Clark Green City in Pampanga.PLDT’s 5G announcement came with little fanfare and just days after President Duterte scored PLDT and rival Globe Telecom and threatened to shut down and seize their assets over what he described as lousy service quality. The threats were also made as Dito Telecommunity, a China Telecom-backed challenger to the incumbents, encountered delays and is set to enter the market in 2021.

PLDT spokesperson Ramon Isberto said on Wednesday the launch was part of the company’s “step by step rollout plan for 5G.”

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Globe had previously launched 5G for home internet but PLDT said on Wednesday users with 5G-capable devices would be able to use its network starting today.

The company said its stores carry an initial lineup of 5G-certified devices from Huawei, Samsung, Realme and Vivo.Adoption of 5G is expected to pick up as prices come down and coverage widens. Technology website YugaTech compiled a list of 5G-ready handsets in the Philippines showing prices from P20,000 to a high of about P140,000 for a Huawei Mate Xs 5G.

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