PLDT prepares for 5G revolution with heftier 2021 budget
Telco giant PLDT Inc. plans to increase spending on its fifth-generation (5G) rollout next year as it prepares for the gradual shift to the new mobile standard.
PLDT announced on Friday plans to “hike investments” in 5G in 2021. This would include expanding its fiber optic network—a necessary component for 5G services, which promise even faster internet speeds and minimal lag.
The company did not disclose the spending amounts but PLDT chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan said this was partly spurred by the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.
“In about a year or two, the ability of delivering fixed wireless services to the home will increase significantly,” he said in a statement on Friday.
While applications for 5G are still emerging, the standard is expected to unlock new capabilities in technology, retail, transport, manufacturing and health care.
At present, industry incumbents PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom continue to expand their 4G/LTE footprint, currently the prevailing mobile standard.
Telco startup Dito Telecommunity also plans to make its debut next year using 4G.
“As we complete the build-out of our 4G network so that our coverage will be as close as possible to 100 percent, we are building out our 5G network as well,” Pangilinan said.
He said their LTE coverage stood at 95 percent of the country’s population.
PLDT is the first telco to launch 5G nationwide, having rolled out the service in key urban centers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
But the service remains out of reach for much of the population, given its small footprint and relatively expensive 5G devices.
PLDT chief revenue officer Al Panlilio said the trend still pointed to further investments in both wireless and fixed-line internet given surging demand.
“We believe that 5G will improve mobile internet capacity and experience, and we are also developing a lot of use cases. PLDT Enterprise will be driving some of those,” he said in the same statement.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.