PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ateneo de Manila University to partner in the development of next-generation applications and services that will run on Smart’s 5G wireless network.

Under the MoU, PLDT-Smart, together with their technology partner Nokia, will help set up the Ateneo’s Convergent Technologies Center with a 5G lab – enabling the university’s students and tech experts to co-develop practical and relevant solutions.

Among the applications being eyed for development are Internet of Things (IoT) solutions, Augmented and Virtual Reality services, robotics, drones, and analytics. To support these research activities, Smart is deploying 5G base stations in the Ateneo campus.

“We’re truly grateful for this gift. More than just a tool, we are excited about the applications, especially as it refers to inclusion, resilience and sustainability. Our technology these days can be a wonderful toolbox, and we believe that it can be a portal to greater things,” said Ateneo President Fr. Jose Ramon T Villarin SJ of the partnership.

“Technology should be used to improve the welfare and the lives of the people. It is our most profound hope that the provision of 5G will further enable the students of the Ateneo to create, develop, and explore new ways to continuously uplift our nation,” PLDT-Smart Chairman and CEO Manny V Pangilinan said during the partnership ceremony.

The launch of 5G at the Ateneo is the third leg in the PLDT Group’s roadmap of 5G deployment in the Philippines. Late last year, PLDT and Smart set up Smart 5G Cities in the Clark Freeport and Special Economic Zone and the Makati City central business district.

Over the past few months, Smart has been firing up more 5G cell sites in Clark and the Makati CBG, paving the way for piloting 5G solutions in these areas in cooperation with enterprise partners and local government units. More Smart 5G cities will be launched in various areas and campuses in the coming months.

“This partnership is indeed exciting, as we believe that it will work to further accelerate the adoption of 5G in the Philippines- bringing in an influx of business opportunities and allowing a greater number of Filipinos with access to the best of technology,” added PLDT-Smart Chief Technology and Information Advisor Joachim Horn.

SVP and Head of PLDT and Smart Enterprise Business Groups Jovy Hernandez added that, “Throughout our years of partnership, Ateneo has always aimed to provide their students with access to the best tools for learning and we are hopeful that this latest development will enhance the capabilities of its students. This will provide us a platform to work together and develop solutions from 5G use cases, which will truly deliver value to the Filipino people.”

With its capability to deliver extremely high speeds coupled with low latency, 5G opens up many possible applications for the Internet of Things and smart cities, as well as smart applications for the retail, transport, manufacturing, logistics and warehousing sectors, as well as intelligent solutions for customer support and smart homes, among others.

Armed with both fixed and wireless infrastructure powered by the country’s most extensive fiber network now at over 221,000 kilometers, PLDT and Smart are best positioned to deploy 5G in the country.

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