Globe to roll out 5G home broadband by mid-2019

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GLOBE Telecom, Inc. is set to roll out a fifth-generation (5G) home broadband service by the second half of next year.

The telecommunications company announced on Wednesday it would make available its first 5G Globe at Home plan by the middle of 2019.

Globe President and CEO Ernest L. Cu said in a statement the 5G technology would enable Globe to use Air Fiber technology, which can provide speeds from 50 megabits per second (Mbps) to 100 Mbps. The Ayala-led company has partnered with Huawei Technologies Ltd. for the development of its 5G network.

Globe said its 5G network will boast not only higher speeds but also lower latency and better capacity, which can be highly useful not just for everyday basic Internet use but more for the adoption of new technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) and virtual reality (VR).

Globe Chief Technology and Information Officer Gil B. Genio told reporters it would be practical to initially roll out 5G in Metro Manila and other urban centers where there is high density of cell sites. The Philippines has only around 16,000 cell sites.

While the international telecom community has yet to finalize frequencies for 5G, Mr. Genio said they will aim for mid-frequencies because high frequencies would demand a higher number of cell sites. The use of 2600 MHz-3500 MHz frequencies will allow Globe to use the same antennae they use for 4G.

Mr. Cu said they are rolling out home broadband first because of the continuing take-up of content video streaming. Video streaming has contributed to higher data usage and revenues of Globe.

“People are watching video, more and more video. As video traffic goes up, we have to deliver higher speeds, not only to one screen, but multiple screens in the household,” Mr. Cu told reporters at the sidelines of the company’s event.

Globe is currently piloting Narrow Band-Internet of Things technology while enhancing its mobile data services. The company has also expanded its deployment of Massive maximum input, maximum output.

Standards for 5G have to be finalized, with the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), a collaboration of seven telecommunications standard development organizations, having approved a set of standards for new radio specifications last December.

Rival Smart Communications, Inc. also recently announced its research and development of 5G rollout. It has not yet specified a rollout date but aims to have a 5G-ready network by 2020.

The company has launched 5G Technolab, a facility that will be assigned for the research and development, standardization, and testing of 5G technology. It also tapped Huawei as its partner.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo