PLDT, Inc.’s wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. on Thursday said it has inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ateneo de Manila University for the development of next-generation applications and services that will run on Smart’s 5G wireless network.

PLDT-Smart and its technology partner Nokia will establish Ateneo’s Convergent Technologies Center with a 5G lab. Among the areas of development include Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, Augmented and Virtual Reality services, robotics, drones, and analytics.

For this, Smart will deploy 5G base stations within the Ateneo campus.

“Technology should be used to improve the welfare and the lives of the people. It is our most profound hope that the provision of 5G will further enable the students of the Ateneo to create, develop, and explore new ways to continuously uplift our nation,” PLDT-Smart Chairman and CEO Manny V. Pangilinan was quoted as saying in a Thursday statement.

The launch of 5G at the Ateneo is the third leg in the PLDT Group’s road map of 5G deployment in the country.

Late last year, PLDT and Smart set up Smart 5G Cities in the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone, and the Makati City central business district where it continues to fire up more 5G-capable cell sites

“This partnership is indeed exciting, as we believe that it will work to further accelerate the adoption of 5G in the Philippines — bringing in an influx of business opportunities and allowing a greater number of Filipinos with access to the best of technology,” PLDT-Smart Chief Technology and Information Advisor Joachim Horn said.

PLDT-Smart said it will launch more 5G cities in various areas and campuses in the coming months.

PLDT is allocating a record P78.4 billion in capital expenditures (capex) for this year, as it ramps up network expansion amid the impending entry of a new player.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — J.C.Lim