Local company Smart Communications has become the first provider in the Philippines to launch 5G sites in key cities in Visayas and Mindanao.
Smart’s 5G sites in Visayas and Mindanao, where both prepaid and postpaid mobile subscribers will experience ”fiber-like” data speeds, are located in Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo, and Davao. These selected areas are in addition to Smart’s current 5G sites which already include 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 strategic locations in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and the cities of Manila, Quezon City, Makati, Taguig, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Parañaque, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Navotas, San Juan, and Pasay.
Smart’s goal of 100% 5G coverage in the Philippines will take almost 5 years to accomplish from when it started conducting tests in 2016. In 2018, it opened its first 5G base station in Makati City in partnership with Huawei as well as in the Clark Freeport Zone in Pampanga province in partnership with Ericsson. It was only in July 2020 when its commercial 5G service went live in Central Business Districts in Metro Manila.
According to PLDT, Smart Communications’ parent company, it has invested nearly USD 5.36 billion from 2015-2019 for its deployment plan. PLDT set aside another USD 1.44 billion for capital expenditure in 2020.