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PLDT to launch 5G cell site in Clark

PLDT, Inc., Smart Communications, Inc. and Ericsson will fire up the country’s first fifth generation (5G) cell site in Clark, Pampanga within the month.

The telecommunications giant, its wireless subsidiary Smart and technology partner Ericsson signed on Monday a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Clark Development Corp. (CDC) to turn Clark Freeport Zone into the first Smart 5G City in the Philippines.

“We are happy to be working with CDC in building the city of the future… This will benefit not only Clark but the country as well by demonstrating that we are in step with the rest of the world in adopting advanced intelligent technologies,” PLDT-Smart Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in the statement.

PLDT-Smart Chief Technology and Information Advisor Joachim Horn told reporters 5G is likely to benefit only enterprises for now, noting it may take two to three years before the 5G technology could be enjoyed by commercial users depending on the 5G-capability of routers and devices.

“It’s particularly interesting for enterprise customers. For enterprise customers, 5G offers a much higher flexibility. We can adjust the technology in a way that it’s tailor-made for the their use case,” he said.

Mr. Horn said talks with enterprises are expected to begin after the Smart 5G City is launched within the month.

“We will start to work with enterprises but the roll out would take some time… I think the major activities will be early next year. So this is a year of putting it to service, start the first couple of sites, show it to the partners and then start the discussions,” he said.

He noted there are 13 existing sites in Clark that are now 5G-ready, and Smart targets to increase it to 25 by mid-2019.

Smart said it presently has more than 2,000 5G-ready sites all over the country. It has more than 221,000 kilometers of fiber network, which will be the backbone for the 5G roll out.

“By piloting 5G in Clark, we are making this zone even more attractive to foreign investors. Through this pilot, we are putting the possibilities of 5G closer to industries, businesses and enterprises operating in the city,” PLDT Head of Enterprise Juan Victor Hernandez said in the statement.

For his part, CDC President Noel Manankil said they are thankful Clark was chosen to be the first 5G city in the country.

“This undertaking forms part of the vision to help create communities that are smart, technology- focused, something that would help keep our country in the right cadence into the future,” he was quoted as saying.

Smart has been testing 5G technology since 2016.

The company launched in August its 5G Technolab, a facility focusing on research and development, standardization, and testing of 5G wireless broadband technologies and services.

In August, Smart and Ericsson inked an MoU to launch the first 5G pilot network by the first half of 2019.

PLDT is spending as much as P58 billion this year for capital expenditures, a historic amount for the telco giant.

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...nalaglag 'to...bumaba earnings report tapos new competitor can never underestimate your competitors 

PLDT: 3rd player not a threat yet

PLDT, Inc. said on Thursday it does not expect an immediate significant impact from the entry of a new major telecommunications player, as it would take several years for the latter to establish its network.

“I would like to think that in the first year the impact (of the third telco player) would not be significant. Most likely, the third player would be a mobile player, so on our part the significant portion of our revenues are in fixed. We think the impact on the fixed line revenue would be modest,” PLDT chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan said in a media briefing on Thursday.

On Wednesday, the Mislatel Consortium, composed of China Telecommunications Corp. and companies controlled by Dennis A. Uy, was provisionally named winner of the Philippines’ third telecoms license.

PLDT Chief Corporate Services Officer Ray C. Espinosa said the third telco is unlikely to achieve its commitment of minimum average broadband speed of 27 megabits per second (Mbps) and 37% annual population coverage all in the first year, because “it would take several years before they can put that network in place and become operational.”

In a regulatory filing, the telecommunications giant on Thursday said its third quarter net income attributable to equity holders fell 16% to P4.5 billion.

For the first nine months of 2018, PLDT’s attributable income dropped 26% to P16.27 billion from P21.87 billion a year ago due to accelerated depreciation of P4.5 billion related to its network assets.

Third quarter revenues went up 2% to P40.91 billion, bringing the nine-month figure 3% higher at P123.15 billion, “primarily due to higher revenues from data services in the fixed line business, as well as higher non-service revenues from wireless and fixed line businesses.” However, lower revenues from mobile and home broadband services, as well as continued drop in voice revenues from its fixed line business weighed on the top line.

By business segment, PLDT reported wireless revenues dropped 4% to P67.67 billion during the nine-month period, “mainly as a result of lower revenues from mobile, home broadband, and digital platforms and mobile financial services, (but) partially offset by higher revenues from MVNO and other services.”

Revenues from its fixed-line business increased 9% to P63.33 billion during the January to September period, as higher revenues from its data services offset lower voice service revenues.

Commenting on PLDT’s third quarter earnings, PNB Securities, Inc. President Manuel Antonio G. Lisbona said the weaker earnings “reflect the effects of its competition with Globe.”

“In one of PNB Securities’ recent reports, we note that PLDT’s retained earnings have been decreasing since 2012 and could incur a deficit if it continues to pay dividends at the current pace,” he said in a mobile message.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pangilinan said PLDT expects to close this month the deal selling a stake in Voyager to investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR), Chinese tech company Tencent Holdings Ltd. and World Bank sister organization International Finance Corp. (IFC).

“The last remaining investor we’re waiting final approval from is IFC. They’re likely to increase their investment size… I think once we get final approval for their upsized investment, that closes the books… We should expect the transaction to complete on or before the end of November,” he said.

PLDT said last month it already signed an agreement with KKR and Tencent for $175-million worth of shares in Voyager.

When the deal is done, Mr. Pangilinan said PLDT’s stake in Voyager would be reduced to approximately 48%.

PLDT also said on Thursday it is investing P2.15 billion in information and IT solutions provider Multisys Technologies Corp. to aid the company in software development capabilities.

The deal will be coursed through its subsidiary PLDT Global Investments Holdings, Inc.

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...kaya naman nila eh, magdeploy ng new technology, binabagalan lang nila roll out

Smart fires up initial 5G cell sites in Makati, Clark

SMART Communications Inc. has fired up the first two 5G cell sites in the country with the intent of developing solutions and applications for Makati City and Clark Freeport Zone.

Manuel V. Pangilinan, the company’s chairman, said on Wednesday that by firing up the first two towers equipped with 5G equipment, this puts Smart “alongside the first-tier operators in the world to have deployed live 5G base stations.”

This, he added, “is part of our commitment to bring the most advanced technologies to the country.”

Smart Chief Revenue Officer Eric R. Alberto added that with the setting up of new 5G stations, the telco can start piloting the development of solutions that can cater to “densely populated areas.”

“With 5G resources now in place, we are looking at developing 5G solutions and applications for central business district areas like Makati, which host a dense population of businesses, people and advanced devices,” he said.

Smart partnered with Huawei to fire up the cell site in Makati, while it tapped Ericsson for the initiative in Clark.

“With 5G cell sites now live and on-air, we are now set to test 5G’s powerful platform to develop solutions, such as autonomous vehicles, connected fleets, and smart buildings and factories, and be able to deliver 5G services to our customers soon,” said Joachim Horn, PLDT-Smart chief technology and information advisor.

5G is the fifth generation of mobile Internet technology. It is considered, when commercially launched worldwide, to be the fastest commercial Internet connectivity with speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps.

Mobile use of 5G has yet to be developed, but telcos around the globe have been developing their own networks to be equipped with 5G-ready instruments.

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