PLDT, its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) and Clark Development Corp. (CDC) have signed a memorandum of understanding to launch Clark Freeport Zone (CFZ) as the country’s first Smart 5G City.
Under the MoU, PLDT, and Smart, together with technology partner Ericsson, will fire up the first 5G cell site in the city in November.
“We are happy to be working with CDC in building the city of the future, equipped with smart services and powered by 5G infrastructure, right here in Pampanga. This will benefit not only Clark but the country as well by demonstrating that we are in step with the rest of the world in adopting advanced intelligent technologies,” said PLDT and Smart Chairman and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.
In line with this program, PLDT and Smart are ramping-up the roll-out of LTE in key areas in CFZ and equipping all of them with 5G facilities in the coming months.
Alongside the MoU signing, Ericsson also showcased possible use cases for 5G in an exhibit that featured Ericsson’s Robotic Arm, Balancing Robot, Connected Mangroves, and Connected Fleet technologies.
“We are glad that Clark was chosen to serve as the location for the very first 5G wireless platform in the Philippines. This, we believe, will not only be of benefit to Clark locators but also the many industries, various businesses and communities in the country as well,” said CDC President and CEO Noel Manankil.
“This undertaking forms part of the vision to help create communities that are smart, technology-focused, something that would help keep our country in the right cadence into the future,” he added.
Country’s first Smart 5G city
Apart from ultra-high speeds, the key features of 5G include enhanced mobile broadband services, massive machine type communications and ultra-reliable and low latency communications.
“By piloting 5G in Clark, we are making this zone even more attractive to foreign investors,” said Juan Victor Hernandez, Senior Vice President and Head of Enterprise for PLDT and Smart. “Through this pilot, we are putting the possibilities of 5G closer to industries, businesses, and enterprises operating in the city.”
Furthermore, Clark’s continuous expansion will be benefited with a total of 25 5G sites. The first one will be live by November this year. There are already 13 existing sites as we speak and 12 more sites will be added to complete the commitment of Smart & PLDT to Clark.
And before you go crazy about the 5G Network spearheaded by Smart and PLDT, it will be focused on B2B. Meaning, the 5G Network of PLDT/Smart will serve businesses in the city.
The photo above shows uses cases to pilot 5G deployment in Clark.
First 5G pilot network in PH
Earlier in August, Smart and Ericsson signed an MoU to deploy the country’s first 5G pilot network by the first half of 2019. Under the MoU, the 5G network will be first deployed in Luzon, the country’s largest and most populous island where about a third of the population work and live.
The 3GPP compliant 5G Trial System that will be deployed in Smart includes Ericsson 5G RAN, Core and Transport solutions. The 5G pilot deployment will allow Smart to explore industry partnership engagements, collaborate with schools and universities, and further develop competence in 5G.
Testing 5G since 2016
Smart has been testing 5G since 2016 when it achieved speeds of 2.5 Gigabits per second (Gbps) using 100 MHz with a latency of just 1 millisecond over a ‘live’ network—the first in the Philippines. As part of its 5G preparations, Smart also launched in June its 5G Technolab, the company’s flagship facility for the research and development, standardization, and testing of 5G, which is designed to be a sustainable environment for innovative services.