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Smart, Omnispace Explore Space-Based 5G

By Greg Tavarez

New 5G equipment is being installed throughout densely populated cities worldwide. But in areas that are less populated, the demand for 5G capacity is exceeding infrastructure improvements.

This is prompting a new space race as the next generation of satellites with 5G capabilities will integrate with networks to manage connectivity to vehicles, airplanes and other IoT devices in remote and rural areas, resulting in a seamless wireless experience worldwide.

Philippine telco company PLDT's wireless subsidiary Smart is collaborating with U.S.-based Omnispace to explore and demonstrate the capabilities of space-based 5G communications using low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.

PLDT and Smart's push into satellite-powered communication is part of a broader initiative to deliver a high level of customer service across the Philippines, complementing rollout of their fiber infrastructure and wireless networks based on 4G and 5G technologies.

Arvin L. Siena, head of PLDT's technology strategy and transformation office, said possible use cases in the nation include enabling 5G connectivity in remote areas and incorporating IoT and sensors for use in monitoring natural calamities. Another use case is augmenting network coverage for disaster relief, maritime and telematics for vessels and equipment. 

Omnispace completed the deployment phase of Omnispace Spark, the company's development and delivery of a global 5G-capable satellite network. The deployment phase followed the launches of Omnispace Spark-1 and Spark-2.

The Omnispace 5G NTN global network will interconnect with terrestrial or land-based mobile networks to serve mobile subscribers utilizing the company's 2 GHz mobile satellite spectrum allocation and operating in 3GPP band n256.

"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," said Brian Pemberton, Omnispace.

5G mobile connectivity from a single global network will deliver the power of 5G directly to billions of devices, extending the reach of mobile connectivity to enable people and assets to communicate in real time.

Edited by Erik Linask

SmartCity Editor

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