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Smart teams up with Nokia for 5G

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PLDT, INC.’s wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. announced on Tuesday it is partnering with Nokia for the rollout of its fifth generation (5G) network in universities.

The two firms signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of Smart’s 5G standalone (5G SA) solutions, which are commonly used for artificial intelligence, drones and Internet of Things. The deal also covers the deployment of 5G products such as handsets and applications.

“We are happy to partner with Nokia to help develop intelligent solutions and technologies for the benefit of the Philippine education sector,” PLDT Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a statement.

Compared to 5G non-standalone (5G NSA) which also uses existing fourth generation (4G) resources, 5G SA is entirely dependent on the 5G network for data transmission.

“By working with partners like Nokia in unlocking the full potential of 5G for Filipino enterprises and customers, we are putting the Philippines at par with the rest of the world in preparing for the deployment and adoption of 5G,” PLDT-Smart Chief Technology and Information Advisor Joachim Horn was quoted as saying.

In 2016, Smart and Nokia also teamed up to test 5G in the Philippines, where they were able to reach speeds of 2.5 gigabits per second (Gbps) over a live network.




Jae Won, Nokia head for Asia Pacific and Japan, said the company is happy to continue its partnership with PLDT and Smart. “This goes beyond just speed. 5G SA enables introduction of services like real-time remote control of robotics and autonomous driving of transport vehicles…,” he was quoted as saying.

Aside from Nokia, PLDT and Smart had also tapped Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. for the deployment of its 5G network. It fired up its first 5G cell site in Makati City in November.

Mr. Pangilinan said last week they want to keep a “mixed approach” to their 5G rollout amid growing cybersecurity and spying concerns from the United States and other countries on partnering with the Chinese tech firm. “We are likely to stay with that mixed vendor kind of approach. The actual mixture, I think we’d have to leave pretty much to fundamental considerations,” he said during PLDT’s briefing on its 2018 financial results.

“What we told Huawei is that we must together address those concerns that have been raised by the US government. So you have to cooperate with us and you have to be transparent with us in terms of where the vulnerabilities are,” Mr. Pangilinan added.

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. — Denise A. Valdez