TELECOMMUNICATIONS company Eastern Communications has entered a partnership with ePLDT, Inc. to provide connectivity solutions to the latter’s hyperscale data center in Laguna.

“ePLDT and Eastern Communications are aligned in a shared goal to advance the Philippines as a regional hyperscale hub. Through this partnership, we continue to foster hyper-collaboration within the telecommunications industry through VITRO Sta. Rosa,” Victor S. Genuino, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of ePLDT, said in a media release.

ePLDT, the information and communications technology (ICT) arm of listed telco giant PLDT Inc., earlier announced a plan to construct its 11th data center — VITRO Sta. Rosa, which will sit on a five-hectare lot in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.

“This collaboration allows Eastern Communications to provide greater value to our customers by offering solutions for data redundancy addressing their disaster recovery needs. We have full confidence in ePLDT’s capabilities, as we drive technological innovation and empower businesses in their digital transformation journey,” Eastern Communications Co-Coordinator Aileen D. Regio said.

Eastern Communications said the partnership will also strengthen its operational capacity in disaster recovery by allowing it to add a redundancy system for its data services.

The country earlier issued the Philippine Digital Roadmap, which is said to make the country a pioneer in digital transformation in Southeast Asia.

“One of the driving forces behind the country’s digitalization is its progressive data center industry which has shown steady growth in recent years due to the rising demand for digital services and the government’s efforts to attract business process outsourcing (BPO) and IT services,” Eastern Communications said.

Eastern Communications equips businesses with cloud and data services to allow them to accommodate large-scale applications and secure storage.

Separately, PLDT together with its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. are set to explore the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to capacitate network operations more efficiently and to boost customer experience.

“We cannot navigate the new world with an old map. Things are changing, technology is developing, and we need to leapfrog in terms of our plans and strategies,” Alfredo S. Panlilio, PLDT and Smart president and CEO, said in a media release.

The company has been considering AI and how to utilize the technology to grow its business, Mr. Panlilio said, adding that the company has been in a constant search for emerging technology considering that the industry is an ever-changing landscape.

“We have to think beyond what we are doing today and innovate. The challenge for us is finding the next big idea, and possible growth areas,” he said.

“AI and machine learning enable us to have a more predictive — and later on, prescriptive — way of operating our network,” Eric Santiago, network head of PLDT and Smart, said.

AI will allow the company to provide a better experience for its customers, Emmanuel C. Lorenzana, chief transformation and customer officer of PLDT, said.

“As this develops, we will see that even more complex and highly personalized interactions will be driven by AI. Another use case for AI is Customer Value Management or CVM, where we can push offers that are tailor-fit to our subscribers’ needs,” Mr. Lorenzana said.

Both PLDT and Smart have set their goal to explore other emerging technologies to help elevate the customer experience in line with the government’s national digitalization ambition.

At the local bourse on Tuesday, shares in the company shed P18 or 1.5% to end at P1,182 apiece.

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. — Ashley Erika O. Jose