PLDT said in a statement on Tuesday, February 14, that they have agreed to jointly conduct research and development on 5G – or 5th generation wireless broadband technology – in the country.
In a recent visit to the Huawei headquarters in Shenzhen, China, PLDT and Smart chairman, president, and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Huawei Philippines CEO Jacky Gao Kexin.
Under the MOU, PLDT and Smart said they will work with Huawei to shape the strategic and commercial development of the 5G ecosystem in the Philippines.
They will also identify areas that need 5G technology.
PLDT said it also plans to set up a 5G innovation laboratory and create a showcase network.
But before rolling out 5G in the Philippines, PLDT said it will focus on "future-proofing" its network.
The country's two telecommunication giants have been under fire for slow, expensive internet connection in the past few years.
PLDT said it hopes to address its consumers' worries by investing more in infrastructure that will support improved internet speed.
'Future-proofing' its network
"We are focused on ensuring that our current investments in network facilities will enable us to be ready with the necessary infrastructure foundation for 5G when it arrives sometime in 2020," said Joachim Horn, chief technology and information advisor for PLDT and Smart.
Smart is in the middle of a multi-year, multimillion-dollar nationwide network expansion program to improve its coverage and quality of service, particularly its 4G LTE service. (READ: Smart called out for 5G technology ads)
A major leg of its network expansion was recently completed in Metro Davao.
According to PLDT, its expansion rollout in Metro Manila and in Metro Cebu as well as the upgrade of PLDT's fixed access networks are already underway.
"This collaboration with Huawei is an important part of PLDT and Smart's efforts to bring the most advanced technologies to the Philippines," said Ray Espinosa, chief corporate services officer at PLDT and Smart.
For Shawn Longyuxiang, director of Huawei Philippines' PLDT group account: "We are glad to partner with PLDT and Smart to help develop innovations needed to deliver 5G." – Rappler.com