Smart activates 5G ‘stand-alone’ network in Makati, one of first in the world | Inquirer Business
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Smart activates 5G ‘stand-alone’ network in Makati, one of first in the world

/ 04:02 AM October 04, 2021

PLDT Inc.’s Smart Communications announced the activation of a pure 5G network in Makati City as it prepares for the wider adoption of the next-generation mobile standard. Smart said in a statement this also counted as one of the early 5G stand-alone (SA) networks in the world.

The global telco industry group GSM Association defines a 5G stand-alone network as using only 5G frequencies versus nonstandalone, which combines 5G with older technologies such as 4G.

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“With the first batch of our 5G SA sites now fully operational, we are starting to see the true capabilities of 5G which will play a critical role in the advancement of massive IoT (internet of things), health care and smart cities, delivering customer experience that is truly world-class,” Alfredo Panlilio, PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications president and CEO, said in a statement.

Limited areas

Smart began exploring 5G in 2016 and fired up base stations in 2018, however, it was rival Globe Telecom that first made the service commercially available in limited areas in 2019. Local telco players are racing to build up their 5G footprints, which allow ultra-fast internet speeds with limited lag. While the usage of 5G significantly trails the prevailing 4G standard, they anticipate stronger demand once 5G devices become more inexpensive.

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Unique features

Meanwhile, Smart said its stand-alone 5G network would offer unique features such as Voice over New Radio and network slicing—an attribute of 5G that allows the operator to partition their network to efficiently serve different types of customers and applications.

In its statement, Smart cited the role 5G plays in enhancing technologies such as augmented reality, gaming and “immersive media.”

“5G SA, as an innovation platform, will create new opportunities for enterprises and consumers that will maximize its ultra-reliable and low latency capabilities,” Mario Tamayo, head of technology at PLDT and Smart, said in the statement.

—Miguel R. Camus INQ
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