Globe Telecom Inc., the Philippines’ leading telecommunications company, formally announced its fifth-generation (5G) wireless technology adoption, with its first 5G network service slated for commercial rollout by the second quarter of 2019.
The 5G network will boast of higher speeds, lower latency, and better capacity. This will enable Globe to deploy fixed wireless broadband at a fiber speed.
Globe President and CEO Ernest Cu said the 5G technology would enable Globe to use Air Fiber technology in relation to deployment of fixed wireless broadband that would benefit individual customers at home and business clients alike. “Air Fiber internet, which makes use of fixed location wireless radios instead of fiber, could provide speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps,” Cu added.
Globe will start rolling out 5G services commercially in the Philippines mid-2019, making it one of the first carriers to do so.
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“We have been preparing our network for sometime now with our existing vendor partners, including Huawei Technologies. We are happy to bring the Philippines in line with other countries who are early adopters of 5G. Once again, we stay true to our commitment to bring first world internet in the country,” Cu said.
The technology will also enable Globe to go over the circuitous approval process of deploying a fiber optic cable in the Philippines, which usually involves multiple permits from local government units (LGUs). The right of process can sometimes take years to obtain delaying fiber optic roll-out completion. “We can bring internet to more homes by deploying 5G compared to a typical fiber optic roll-out,” Cu said.
The 5G technology is expected to accelerate the adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) in the Philippines. Globe earlier announced that it is enabling its network by utilizing its spectrum assets, particularly the widely-contested 700-megahertz band.
Globe is currently piloting Narrow Band- Internet of Things (NB-IoT) technology in the country, while enhancing its mobile data services. Due to the telco’s inherent advantage of long reach, this spectrum is ideal to support NB-IoT services. Globe and China’s Huawei are collaborating in this journey, ensuring network readiness to support these services.
The Globe network has one of the largest deployment of Massive MIMO (MM) in Asia, as part of its strategic technology roadmap since 2016. MM is the fundamental radio access technology for 5G.
Globe has been spending over 31% of its annual total revenues to upgrade and expand its telecommunication and IT infrastructure. It has been ramping up its capital spend from P21.1 billion in 2012 to P36.7 billion in 2016 and P42.5 billion in 2017, in order to provide its subscribers of better broadband services. This year, Globe recently disclosed that it will further accelerate its capital expenditures to over P43.5 billion.
Back in November 2015, Globe extended its partnership with Huawei, signing a five-year contract involving the planning and design of a wireless broadband network, as well as the creation of a wireless innovation center. Huawei was also the technology partner of Globe when it implemented a $700-million network modernization program that began in 2011.