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Smart accelerates 5G deployment this year

Panlilio*

Emerging markets, such as the Philippines, have posted the biggest improvements in mobile experience with 5G, according to independent mobile analytics firm Opensignal.

In its latest 5G Insight “Benchmarking the global 5G experience”, that covered the period Oct. 1 to Dec. 29, 2020, Opensignal found that the Philippines was among the countries that posted the greatest improvements in Download Speed and Video Experience with 5G.

5G Video Experience in the Philippines was at 77.1, 40 percent more than its 4G Video Experience, topping the list of the world’s most improved countries in terms of 5G Video Experience, that included Thailand, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Australia. The 5G Download Speed in the Philippines was at 117.2 Mbps.

To elevate its quality of service to be at par with other countries, mobile services provider Smart Communications Inc. is further ramping up its 5G deployment, and improving product and service offers, its press release said.

Alfredo Panlilio, Smart Communications president and chief executive officer, said the commercial 5G rollout has opened the door to a higher level of customer experience.

“This year, we said we will invest more than P90 billion for network investments, so that we can continue to improve customer experience,” Panlilio said. “With this, we are making the Philippines’ fastest mobile network – as recently awarded by another third-party analytics firm Ookla – even faster with 5G.”

Mario Tamayo, head of Technology for PLDT and Smart, said these network investments over the past years have allowed PLDT-Smart to level up customer experience using the latest technologies available.

These latest developments are part of Smart’s strategy in deploying 5G across the country.

5G MILESTONES

The company is at the forefront of the 5G revolution in the Philippines with the continued nationwide rollout of its 5G network, which includes strategic sites in Metro Manila, Boracay, Cavite, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Laguna, New Clark City in Pampanga, and Rizal.

With the surge in demand for data, PLDT and Smart are prepared to invest between P88 billion and P92 billion in capital expenditures in 2021 to meet the requirements of mobile and fixed line customers, the press release said.

PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country, is at more than 429,000 kilometers as of December. The fiber network supports the 5G, 4G, 3G, and 2G networks, that cover 96 percent of the population and are present in 95 percent of cities and municipalities. As of December, Smart has also increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000, and rolled out additional 5G sites as it accelerates its commercial services nationwide, the press release added.*

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