PLDT Inc. and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. said Monday they will be rolling out their fifth-generation (5G) network service in key areas in the Visayas and Mindanao, as part of their goal to turn the Philippines into a 5G country.

“Smart, which launched its 5G service commercially in July, is rolling out Smart 5G in key areas in Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao,” the telecommunications services providers said in a joint statement on Monday.

The Smart 5G network service is currently commercially available in Makati Central Business District (CBD), Bonifacio Global City CBD, Araneta City, Mall of Asia Bay Area, North Avenue in Quezon City, Taft Avenue in Manila, Ortigas CBD, New Clark City in Pampanga, EDSA, and in other “strategic” locations in Metro Manila and nearby provinces such as Cavite, Laguna, and Rizal, PLDT-Smart said.

Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart president and chief executive officer and PLDT chief revenue officer, said the rollout of 5G in more areas “complements the deployment of Smart’s LTE network and the expansion of PLDT’s fiber infrastructure.”

“Combined with our fiber and 4G/LTE resources, we are providing our customers with the widest range of powerful connectivity services, as the country’s only fully integrated telco and digital services provider,” he said.

Smart’s broadband service currently covers 95% of the country’s population, complemented by PLDT’s fiber infrastructure.

Globe Telecom, Inc. announced separately on Monday that it had upgraded its network to provide “incremental 4G capacity” in various areas in Luzon, including Metro Manila, Rizal, Bulacan, and Cavite.

“With 4G, small and medium businesses will get the boost they need now that the traditional means to sell are no longer applicable to sustain their survival. The technology will keep them competitive in the new normal,” said Joel Agustin, senior vice president for Globe’s Program Delivery, Network Technical Group.

Globe added it is planning to improve its network in Cebu, Iloilo City, Davao City, Bacolod City, and Boracay Island.

“4G offers higher bandwidth and provides faster broadband speeds. It also offers low latency and improved network responsiveness which is needed for enhanced user experience. 4G’s high spectrum efficiency makes network capacity larger to support a higher number of users,” Globe said.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin