An unconfirmed report from The Philippine Star says that local telecoms giant PLDT Inc. is moving closer to striking deals to select its preferred 5G network suppliers ahead of a commercial rollout of services in 2020. Commenting on plans for mobile arm Smart Communications, PLDT chairman and chief executive officer Manuel V Pangilinan said: ‘There is one interesting vendor that we will visit next week,’ adding that ‘the first step is to decide on the technology and the vendor. Hopefully, we could do that by year end so that we could deploy quickly by the first half of 2020.’
According to the official, PLDT is not limiting its search to a single equipment supplier, noting ‘it may be one, it may be two’ and pointing out that the telco is currently trialling 5G technologies on a ‘proof of concept’ basis, with help from the likes of Chinese vendors Huawei Technologies and ZTE, Finland’s Nokia, Cisco Systems of the US and Sweden’s Ericsson.
Previously, PLDT had suggested it would launch 5G services on a commercial basis for home broadband and enterprise customers by Q4 2019 but postponed its rollout to form a clearer view of the new technology. Its main domestic rival Globe Telecom successfully launched its own 5G home fixed-wireless broadband services in June this year, branded Globe At Home Air Fiber 5G. The operator’s post-paid plans offer ‘fibre-like’ speeds of up to 100Mbps and data packages of up to 2TB, and are available in select areas in Pasig, Cavite and Bulacan.