Local telco Smart Communications said it expects mobile games and e-sports will drive the uptake of 5G wireless technology in the country.
The company made the pronouncement as athletes from franchise-based e-sports league The Nationals joined the first 5G-powered e-sports exhibition match held at the PLDT headquarters in Makati City.
Armed with the latest 5G handsets, athletes from PLDT-Smart Omega and Cignal Ultra Warriors battled it out on Mobile Legends using Smart’s 5G network, with Team Omega emerging victorious at the end of the 10-minute exhibition match.
Showcased during the event were the Huawei Mate 5G, the Oppo Reno 5G, and the ZTE Axion 5G handsets.
Smart is also set to deploy indoor 5G coverage to support the training grounds of various e-sports teams under The Nationals.
This comes at the heels of the country’s successful e-sports debut at the 30th Southeast Asian Games, during which the country bagged several gold medals in various e-sports events, including DoTA 2, Mobile Legends and StarCraft 2.
“We have always been a staunch supporter of this growing industry, and part of this commitment is making the best of our technologies available for the advancement of e-sports in the country,” said PLDT chief revenue officer and Smart president and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio.
During the SEA Games, Smart partnered with the Philippine national e-sports team Sibol and offered incentives for gold medalists. PLDT and Smart also mounted a special 5G showcase at New Clark City to demonstrate to Filipino sports fans the exciting new applications made possible by 5G.
“5G is very promising and I am very excited to know that it will be promising for The Nationals. The athletes would surely love the lower latency which would allow them to maximize their response times and teams will benefit from other use cases like instant download of replays and access of VODs for their reviews and strategy phases,” said Darren Vitug, commissioner of The Nationals.
“We were excited to play using these new 5G handsets and the 5G network. We were surprised by how fast our connection was. It enabled us to level up our game — as if we were in an actual tournament,” said Kenneth “Kenji” Villa, team captain for Team Omega.
5G wireless broadband technology has the capability to deliver extremely high speeds coupled with lower latency — two factors important in delivering an enhanced gaming experience.
Lower latency delivered by Smart’s current 5G network is ideal for real-time AR/VR and game applications. In the future, with the deployment of 5G standalone (5G SA), this performance will further be enhanced with ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC), another key feature of 5G.
5G SA has been described as ‘pure 5G’ as it relies solely on 5G for data transmission and allows the full benefit of 5G capabilities to be tested and demonstrated. In contrast, 5G NSA (non-standalone) combines the use of 5G and existing 4G/LTE resources to transmit data.
Apart from gaming, 5G also opens up possibilities for applications in other sectors such as retail, transport, manufacturing, logistics and warehousing, for example.
Smart fired up the country’s first 5G base stations in Makati and Pampanga in 2018, transforming Makati City and Clark Freeport Zone into the country’s first Smart 5G Cities.
Last year, Araneta City became the country’s first Smart 5G Lifestyle Hub and 5G-enabled shopping mall as it hosted the country’s first 5G indoor deployment. PLDT and Smart have also launched 5G at the Ateneo de Manila University, transforming it into the first Smart 5G campus and enabling the university’s students and tech experts to co-develop practical and relevant 5G solutions.
PLDT and Smart also launched the Smart 5G Alliance, which is envisioned as an accelerator for 5G innovations within the Philippine setting and made the first 5G Standalone (SA) video call in Southeast Asia using Nokia’s 5G SA core, radio and user equipment installed at the PLDT-Smart 5G Technolab.