Smart 'on track' with 5G rollout, president says

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 23 2019 01:39 PM

Huawei devices on display at a Smart retail center. ABS-CBN News

MANILA – Smart Communications is "on track" with its plans to deploy 5G technology, with pilot testing scheduled in November, its president said Friday.

The mobile unit of PLDT Inc said it was "assessing risks" raised against China's Huawei Technologies while making sure it was "not too reliant" on one vendor, said Smart President Al Panlilio.

"We’re on track in terms of that time frame that sometime mid-next year we’ll have more clarity in terms of what we will be doing in 5G but as of the moment, we’re exploring already some use cases especially enterprise where 5G is being looked at," he said.

A pilot 5G project is underway at the Ateneo de Manila University with Nokia, Panlilio said in an exclusive interview with The Boss on ANC.

Huawei, tapped by both Smart and rival Globe Telecom, has been branded a security risk by the US, an allegation that the Shenzhen-based company has denied.

"Our heads are making sure that we’re not too reliant on Huawei on one product and that’s how you do business, whether it’s a Huawei issue or not a Huawei issue, that’s normal. Making sure there’s no single point of failure in your system," he said.

Smart Communications president Al Panlilio speaks to Cathy Yang for ANC's The Boss. ABS-CBN News

Aside from mining, ports and other businesses, it’s the consumers that might benefit first from better speeds of 5G, Panlilio said.