PLDT taps Nokia for 5G development

Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 12 2019 08:25 PM

PLDT announces its partnership with Nokia to develop 5G applications in the Philippines. Jessica Fenol, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - PLDT Inc said Tuesday it partnered with Finland's Nokia to develop 5G solutions for use in schools, as local carriers race to bring the next generation wireless standard to the market.

Under a Memorandum of Understanding, PLDT, Smart and Nokia "will collaborate" in identifying uses for 5G such as artificial intelligence, drones, and internet of things (IOT) applications in schools, colleges and universities. 

"This is part and parcel of the digital journey that PLDT has embarked since 2015 and continues to this day. The most recent expression to that is this partnership with Nokia and our march into the brave new world of 5G," PLDT chairman and CEO Manny Pangilinan said. 

"A world we don't totally understand at this stage but which we feel offers a great opportunity for telcos to generate new forms of revenue," he said. 

Nokia's end-to-end solution will make a difference in PLDT's 5G pilot, said Nokia senior vice president for Asia Pacific and Japan Jae Won. 

"Nokia brings an end-to-end capability, meaning right from the devices to the radio network, transfer network and of course security. But the end-to-end capability is why it will make a difference," he said. 

PLDT will work with partner vendors to test possible new uses of 5G technology, Pangilinan said. 

But industrial use-cases of 5G can start to" take hold" by 2020, said Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri. 

The Filipino carrier earlier tapped China's Huawei and Sweden's Ericsson for 5G tests, including a video call between Makati City and Clark last November.

When asked about its partnership with China's Huawei, Pangilinan said: "We will treat our vendors fairly especially in the matter of 5G including security concerns. Maybe in some aspects, there could be vendors with heightened security concerns and vendors with lesser security concerns."

US officials have cautioned governments worldwide against tapping Shenzhen-based Huawei for 5G, citing security concerns. The Chinese telecommunications giant has challenged before a US court a ban on federal agencies' use of its products.

Huawei's founder, Ren Zhengfei, denied spying for Beijing, while his daughter and company CFO Meng Wanzhou fights extradition to the US following her arrest in Canada on Washington's request.

Pangilinan in February said he has talked to Huawei to identify "possible danger points" and the Chinese firm's response was "positive."

"I think they are ahead of the others technically. So mahirap 'yung (it's difficult to) shut them out just because they are Chinese,” he said.