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Smart fires up 5G SA network slicing

PhilStar Global logo PhilStar Global 22/12/2021 Richmond Mercurio
Smart fires up 5G SA network slicing © James Yarema via Unsplash Smart fires up 5G SA network slicing

MANILA, Philippines — PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications Inc. has become the country’s first telco to carry out network slicing on 5G standalone (SA), further beefing up its 5G capabilities.

Smart has successfully tested its 5G SA network slicing capabilities at the PLDT-Smart Technolab in Makati following the launch of its 5G SA base stations.

SA refers to a 5G network which is capable of running on pure 5G mode, unaided by existing 4G/LTE infrastructure.

Smart earlier this year became one of the first operators in the world to start enabling 5G SA in its network.

Network slicing is one of the most advanced and transformational capabilities of 5G SA, which benefits operators and customers alike.

It allows operators to dedicate and optimize or “slice” virtual portions of their network for specific use cases or for specific customers’ needs, allowing services with different requirements to be carried in the same network resource.

“This milestone underscores our commitment to use the latest advantages of 5G to elevate the quality of our customers’ experience,” PLDT and Smart head of technology Mario Tamayo said.

“5G network slicing paves the way for exciting new use cases that only 5G SA can support, such as creating network slices for gaming, for supporting private 5G networks for enterprises, or for powering mission-critical services for smart cities,” Tamayo said.

During the successful demo, Smart said it used Ericsson equipment at the Technolab and in Clark, Pampanga to achieve provisioned standard and premium speeds using OPPO X2 phones.

“This is particularly exciting for our enterprise customers, because Smart’s network slicing capability allows them to use the connectivity we provide, made more reliable and fit to serve varying business objectives. We will continue to evolve the capability of 5G SA as we work with our enterprise customers, and validate with them the most relevant use cases” said Jojo Gendrano, head of PLDT and Smart enterprise business group.

Smart said the latest innovation is part of its efforts in pioneering 5G in the country.

It fired up its commercial 5G SA sites in Makati City in September, powering up one of the first 5G SA networks in the world.

The telco also made its first successful voice over new radio call as early as July this year at the Technolab.

As of September, Smart fired up around 6,400 5G base stations, making it the country’s widest 5G network which is also recognized by Ookla as the country’s fastest and most reliable 5G network.

Supporting Smart’s 5G network is PLDT’s extensive fiber infrastructure, already at 615,000 kilometers as of end-September.

The deployment of LTE and 5G across the country is part of PLDT and Smart’s broader initiative to deliver world-class customer experience to its customers nationwide.

PLDT is on track to meeting its full-year capex guidance of at least P88 billion for 2021.

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