Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), the wireless arm of the Philippines’ largest integrated telco PLDT, has launched its 5G roaming service in South Korea.
Smart prepaid and postpaid subscribers who are roaming in South Korea can enjoy 5G data roaming speeds using their Smart SIM and 5G device and by subscribing to GigaRoam plans. GigaRoam plans start for as low as P999 for a 5-day data roaming plan.
“5G, the latest evolution of wireless communications, brings our customers closer to an even higher level of customer experience in terms of enjoying high-definition video, playing esports and using new digital services,” said Alfredo S. Panlilio, Smart Communications President and CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer.
“South Korea remains to be a top roaming destination for Filipino business and leisure travelers and 5G roaming speeds mean faster upload of travel blogs and videos, faster download speeds for K-Drama videos popular with the Filipino market, and seamless data connectivity for work-productivity apps,” said Alice Ramos, Vice President for International Roaming and Consumer Business at Smart.
Partnership with KT Corp.
The move is in partnership with KT Corp., Korea’s largest telecommunications company. KT Corp. is leading the new era of innovations in one of the world’s most connected countries with 5G, Big Data, Cloud, IoT, Blockchain and other transformative technologies. KT launched the world’s first nationwide commercial 5G network in April 2019, after showcasing the first trial 5G services at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in February 2018.
KT and Smart are members of the CONEXUS Mobile Alliance, which is composed of 9 member-telcos in Asia who are at the forefront of delivering innovative, customer-friendly services for customers of member operators who frequently travel on business.
5G in the Philippines
In the Philippines, Smart remains at the forefront of the 5G revolution. Smart has been conducting tests with 5G starting in 2016.
Smart launched its commercial 5G service in July last year and was the first in the country to roll out its 5G service nationwide. Its recently unveiled 5G campaign is headlined by South Korean superstars Hyun Bin and Son Ye Jin.
Smart has also continued the nationwide roll-out of its ultrafast 5G network, which also includes strategic sites in Metro Manila, Cebu, Boracay, Iloilo, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, and Davao.
On top of beefing up its nationwide 5G network, Smart has also teamed up with device manufacturers like Samsung, Huawei, OPPO, vivo, and realme to put more Smart-certified 5G devices within easy reach of their subscribers. (For the full list of devices, visit 5g.smart)
Fastest mobile network in the Philippines
5G is expected to make the Philippines’ fastest mobile network even faster. In the latest Ookla Speedtest Awards, Smart has been named anew as the country’s fastest mobile network, while PLDT has once again been cited as the Philippines’ fastest fixed network. The awards are based on analysis by Ookla of millions of tests taken with Speedtest® covering the second half of 2020.
Meanwhile, third party analytics firm Opensignal* also found that the Philippines was among countries that posted the greatest improvements in Video Experience with 5G, topping the list of the world’s most improved countries, which included Thailand, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, United Kingdom and Australia.
To meet the requirements of their mobile and fixed line subscribers, PLDT and Smart are prepared to invest between Php 88 billion and Php 92 billion in capital expenditures in 2021.
Supporting Smart’s 5G network is PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which is the most extensive in the country at more than 429,000 kilometers as of December 2020.
Smart’s networks currently cover 96% of the population and are present in 95% of cities and municipalities. As of December, Smart has also increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000./PR