Smart partners with US firm Omnispace to explore space-based 5G technologies

PLDT, Inc.’s wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. is collaborating with US-based global communications provider Omnispace to explore the capabilities of space-based fifth-generation (5G) communications using low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites for the Philippine market.

“This collaboration with Omnispace will allow our companies to work together to define use cases for the Philippine market,” Arvin L. Siena, head of PLDT’s Technology Strategy and Transformation Office, said in an e-mailed statement on Wednesday.

He said possible use cases include providing 5G connectivity in far-flung areas, adding Internet of Things or IoT and sensors to monitor weather disturbances and natural disasters, and expanding network coverage for disaster relief, maritime, and telematics for vessels and equipment.

“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, which will support the 5G ecosystem of the future,” Mr. Siena added.

According to its website, Omnispace is headquartered in the Washington, DC area. Its mission is to redefine mobile connectivity for the 21st century.

“By leveraging 5G technologies, the company is combining the global footprint of a non-geostationary satellite constellation with the mobile networks of the world’s leading telecom companies to bring an interoperable ‘one network’ connectivity to users and IoT devices anywhere on the globe,” it said.

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. — Arjay L. Balinbin