PLDT taps Nokia for 5G development project

13 Mar 2019

PLDT Inc. (including Smart Communications and Sun Cellular) has reportedly signed a partnership agreement with Nokia to develop 5G in educational institutions throughout the Philippines, ABS-CBN News reports. Signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU), the parties will look to identify best use cases for 5G, such as artificial intelligence (AI), drones, and internet of things (IoT) applications in schools, colleges and universities. Nokia’s end-to-end solution is expected to augment PLDT’s 5G pilot, said Nokia senior vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan Jae Won, noting that it will bring ‘an end-to-end capability, meaning right from the devices to the radio network, transfer network and of course security. But the end-to-end capability is why it will make a difference’.

Meanwhile, PLDT chairman and CEO Manny Pangilinan said: ‘This is part and parcel of the digital journey that PLDT has embarked since 2015 and continues to this day. The most recent expression to that is this partnership with Nokia and our march into the brave new world of 5G.’

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in November 2018 PLDT said it expects to have deployed its 5G networks in the Philippines by H2 2019. Officials of the telco and its mobile division confirmed plans to roll out the new platform in schools, techno-parks and business centres. PLDT-Smart president of technology strategy and transformation, Czar Lopez, was quoted as saying: ‘On 5G it’s not just about speed, it is also about greater capacity and also lower latency’, while fellow VP Mitch Locsin confirmed that the operator is also upgrading its cell towers to accommodate 5G equipment, as well as adding more towers to accelerate the rollout of fifth-generation technologies.

The announcement of the 5G launch timetable came in the wake of the operator’s latest successful 5G tests that month, in which Smart said it was able to make the country’s first live 5G-to-5G video call. The call was made between the newly launched Smart 5G cities in Pampanga and Makati using 5G radio and core equipment of Smart’s partners Huawei in Makati and Ericsson in Clark. In a statement, the cellco said the tests showcased the ‘interoperability’ of the new system in a multi-vendor environment, adding that speeds of up to 700Mbps were achieved using Huawei’s 5G equipment in Makati.