Philippine telco PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart has teamed up with US satellite and comms firm Omnispace to develop space-based 5G applications.
The collaboration has the mission statement of exploring and demonstrating the capabilities of 5G comms using LEO satellites. This follows the launch of the initial phase of Omnispace Spark – which the company describes as ‘the world’s first global 5G-capable satellite network – earlier this year.
The Omnispace 5G NTN global network will apparently interconnect with terrestrial or land-based mobile networks to serve mobile subscribers using its2 GHz mobile satellite spectrum allocation, operating in 3GPP band n256. The firm claims it will ‘deliver the power of 5G directly to billions of devices everywhere, extending the reach of mobile connectivity to enable people and assets to communicate in real-time through a single, seamless global service.’
“This collaboration with Omnispace will allow our companies to work together to define use cases for the Philippine market,” said Arvin Siena, Head of PLDT’s Technology Strategy and Transformation Office. “This is also part of PLDT’s broader initiatives to future-proof our services, including Smart 5G. This includes exploring opportunities to team up with companies like Omnispace, to test the interoperability of our network with their 3GPP-compliant 5G non-terrestrial network (NTN), which will support the 5G ecosystem of the future.”
Brian Pemberton, who is simply listed as working at Omnispace, added: “We are excited to announce this collaborative agreement with Smart Communications, which shares our vision of delivering reliable mobile connectivity to consumer, government and enterprise users, everywhere. Together with Smart, we seek to bridge the digital divide, while also providing the communications infrastructure to power the development of the Filipino economy of the future.”
Possible use cases are listed as enabling 5G connectivity in remote areas, incorporating IoT and sensors for use in monitoring weather disturbances and natural calamities, and augmenting network coverage for disaster relief, maritime and telematics for vessels and equipment.