Pangilinan-led Smart Communications Inc. is set to roll out commercial fifth-generation 5G services in select areas on Thursday, July 30, 2020.
In a statement on Wednesday, Smart said the initial rollout will be made available for Signature, Infinity, and other postpaid subscribers in key districts using Smart-certified handsets with 5G-activated sim cards.
The areas covered include the Makati Central Business District (CBD), Bonifacio Global City CBD, Araneta City, SM Megamall, and Mall of Asia Bay Area.
The 5G service will also be available in key high-traffic areas such as North Avenue in Quezon City and Taft Avenue in Manila City, as well as the Ortigas CBD and Clark Green City in Pampanga.
"The launch of Smart's 5G service enables the Philippines to level up and join the ranks of countries utilizing the next generation of mobile technology," said PLDT chief revenue officer and Smart president and chief executive officer Alfredo Panlilio.
"For our customers, it opens the door to an even higher level of customer experience in terms of enjoying video, playing sports, and using more powerful digital services," he added.
According to Smart, it will also launch its initial lineup of Smart 5G-certified devices from Huawei, Samsung, RealMe, and Vivo which will be made available with its Smart Signature plans in select stores.
"As we roll out 5G in more areas of the country, this will complement the deployment of our 4G/LTE network which is already the fastest and most extensive in the country. To date, Smart 4G/LTE and 3G coverage serves 95% of the country's population," said Panlilio.
Earlier this week, President Rodrigo Duterte in his State of the Nation Address threatened both Smart and its biggest competitor Globe Telecom Inc. to improve services by December, else have their properties expropriated or be shut down.
In response, Globe said it will heed the order, as it noted that it has earmarked $1.2 billion for its capital expenditure this year alone.
PLDT Inc., the parent company of Smart, in March said it will hike its capital expenditure program to P83 billion this year, but slashed this to P60 billion in May following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease. The company has yet to release a statement in response to the SONA. -MDM, GMA News