Philippine mobile operator Smart Communications announced it signed an agreement with Ericsson to deploy the country’s first 5G pilot network during the first half of 2019.
The 5G trial system will use Ericson’s 5G Radio Access Network, core and transport solutions and will be initially deployed in Luzon, the country’s most populous island where about a third of the population work and live, Smart Communications said.
“As 5G opens up more opportunities for new services and solutions to offer to our customers, we are investing in future-proofing our network and making sure that our network is ready for 5G,” said Manuel Pangilinan, chairman and CEO of Smart Communications’ parent PLDT.
“Our partnership with Ericsson is part of our commitment to bring to the country the latest technologies to improve the experience of our customers, as well as boost the digital transformation of enterprises and industries,” the executive added.
“We believe first movers in 5G can reshape the market, grow market share and increase revenue streams. Combining improved capacity and ultra-low latency, 5G will help realize new use cases and business models and capture new revenue opportunities by addressing industry digitalization,” said Martin Wiktorin, head of Ericsson Singapore, Brunei, Philippines and Pacific Islands.
Smart Communications is currently upgrading its network’s core and transport elements, which includes converting the backhaul connecting cell sites around the country to fiber and deploying 5G-ready equipment in its ongoing LTE rollout, said Mario Tamayo, SVP for network planning and engineering.
“As we continue to ramp up the roll-out of LTE, LTE-Advanced and carrier aggregation technology nationwide, we are also making sure that these are already future-proof and 5G-capable,” Tamayo added.
Under its current upgrades, Smart is installing 5G-compatible radio equipment across its network, which now has over 2,000 5G-ready sites.
The Asian carrier began testing 5G in December 2016, in partnership with Nokia. During this test, the company achieved speeds of 2.5Gb/s using 100MHz of spectrum.
In June, Smart Communications announced it achieved rates data of more than 6.5G Gbps in a trial with Huawei.
China Mobile Hong Kong Completes 5G Network Testing
In related 5G news, China Mobile Hong Kong (CMHK) announced it has completed an end-to-end 5G network testing (client terminal to application).
The carrier said the trial allowed the connection of non-5G devices and computers to its wi-fi hotspots via customer premises equipment.
China Mobile Hong Kong used 28 GHz millimeter-wave spectrum with 800 MHz bandwidth and 4×4 multiple-input multiple-output technology.
China Mobile Hong Kong announced plan to build a 28 GHz 5G network in selected locations by the end of this year to conduct a field test. The company is also working with partners to develop smart city related applications to be better equipped for 5G network construction and application development.-RCR Wireless