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PLDT: No list yet on vendors for 5G dispatch

Telco giant PLDT Inc. said it had yet to select suppliers for the commercial rollout of 5G, the next generation mobile standard that promises ultra-fast internet speeds and low lag times.

In a press conference, PLDT chief technology and information advisor Joachim Horn said flagship wireless subsidiary Smart was still in the “pilot” phase of the rollout.

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He said a final decision would be made ahead of the “big investment” in 5G starting 2020.

“For 5G, we haven’t done any supplier decision yet,” Horn said as the company signed a memorandum of understanding with Finnish telecommunications equipment supplier Nokia for pilot stand-alone 5G solutions for schools.

A 5G stand-alone network relies solely on a 5G network. A nonstand-alone network, which is being tested today, relies on both 5G and 4G networks.

Horn was responding to queries on possible security threats from Chinese technology companies.

PLDT has so far signed 5G pilot deals with Swedish supplier Ericsson and China’s Huawei.

The latest memorandum with Nokia comes as governments around the world led by the United States have grown critical of Chinese technology, in particular, products supplied by Huawei.

PLDT chair and CEO Manuel Pangilinan said they were working with Huawei to address issues on security.

According to Horn, the group is now focused on the appropriate 5G applications for the Philippine market.

The partnership with Nokia, for example, would focus on solutions for schools including virtual reality applications, said Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri, who was in Manila for the signing ceremony.

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Suri said early applications would also include advanced manufacturing and real-time virtual reality for the health care industry.

“[The year] 2020 is when a lot of industrial use cases will take hold in the 5G environment,” Suri added.

The final 5G standards would not be released until the latter part of 2019, mobile operators’ trade group GSM Association announced previously.

Operators have already started to test nonstand-alone 5G services. Late last year, Smart activated the first 5G cell sites in Clark, Pampanga, and Makati City with equipment supplied by Ericsson and Huawei, respectively.

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TAGS: 5G network, next generation mobile standard, PLDT Inc., ultra-fast internet speeds
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