Now enters 5G war via deal with Nokia
Businessman Mel Velarde’s Now Group of Companies signed a memorandum of understanding with Finnish tech giant Nokia to roll out a standalone 5G network in the Philippines.
The deal, which covers publicly listed Now Corp. and affiliate Now Telecom, paves the way for the use of Nokia’s network equipment and to explore “appropriate use cases of the 5G technology” in the country.
5G is the next-generation mobile standard offering ultrafast internet speeds and minimal lag times. PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom have rolled out 5G on a smaller scale given the significant cost of building a brand-new network and the limited availability of affordable 5G devices.
Velarde, Now chair and founder, said the arrival of 5G would allow the company to “expand its current guaranteed service to high-end markets via 5G fixed wireless access and extend this compelling customer experience to consumers via 5G mobile cellular broadband service.”
The National Telecommunications Commission earlier renewed Now Telecom’s provisional authority to install, operate and maintain a nationwide mobile telecommunications system.
Conditions include the infusion of added capital and the acceleration of its broadband installation in suburban and rural areas.
Now Telecom earlier said it planned to spend $713 million for its five-year 5G fixed wireless access business plan.
This would be deployed in Metro Manila, where the company planned to offer internet speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second. Of the $713 million, around $152 million would be used in the first three years, mostly to acquire new 5G radio equipment, Now said.
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