NOW Corp. and its affiliate Now Telecom Co., Inc. is teaming up with South Korea’s SK Telecom Co., Ltd. to launch a commercial fifth generation (5G) network in the Philippines.

In a disclosure to the stock exchange Friday, the Velarde-led company said it signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the South Korean telco to establish a 5G stand-alone network and form a 5G roadmap for the country.

“SK Telecom and Now expect to draw up a Phased 5G Commercialization Plan as part of the agreement,” it said.

SK Telecom is the largest telco in South Korea with a market share of almost 50%. Now said it wants to take advantage of the Korean company’s 5G knowledge to develop in-building solutions, business-to-business services and 5G-enabled enterprise applications.

“This partnership with SK Telecom will help produce a more defined business strategy for Now and its execution programs for the next five to ten years as the country begins to embrace 5G and its various applications,” it said.

Now Telecom said in June it wants to battle Globe Telecom, Inc. and Smart Communications, Inc. in the 5G arena, with plans to adopt 5G technology for enterprises and homes with speeds of up to 20 gigabits per second (Gbps).

Globe is the only telco in the Philippines that currently offers 5G services. It started the commercial availability of its 5G network to home subscribers in July.

Smart, the wireless unit of PLDT, Inc., is scheduled to make its 5G service available commercially by early next year, as it had already fired up two 5G cell sites last year.

In September, Now Telecom was given a cellular mobile telephone system (CMTS) license by the National Telecommunications Commission. This allows the company to operate as a wireless telco in the country, joining other CMTS license holders Globe, Smart and Dito Telecommunity Corp. — Denise A. Valdez