PLDT’s wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart), in collaboration with P.I. Works, won the APAC Operator Award for Best Example of Automation Deployment at the recently held FutureNet Asia Event in October 2022.
“Customer insight is a key element of how we design, build and optimize our networks, with our end goal of providing superior customer experience,” said Eric Santiago, PLDT Network Head. “This partnership with P.I. Works helps us further improve our network based on real-time customer experience, taking us closer toward our goal of operating a ‘zero-touch network’.” Smart has partnered with P.I. Works for a comprehensive strategy for its Network Automation Solution, EXA, to automate its multi-vendor, multi-technology networks. EXA is a self-organizing network automation technology designed to make the planning, configuration, performance management, coverage, and quality optimization and healing of mobile radio access networks efficient, simpler, and faster.
“Automation is critical in our network transformation journey, which we started in 2016. It is a primary building block that enables us to deliver the best customer experience,” said Radames Zalameda, Head of Network Quality at PLDT and Smart.
“The use cases that we have co-developed with P.I. Works have enhanced the way we operate, manage and optimize our network. Now, we have a self-healing, self-organizing, self-optimizing network that automatically adapts to our subscribers’ demand for better CX,” said Zalameda, adding that with Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence capabilities handling manual work, PLDT and Smart’s engineers can focus on more complex problem solving and strategy.
According to Zalameda, Smart’s self-organizing and self-healing network dynamically learns the behavior of its subscribers and automatically adjusts several parameters, such as design, coverage, and capacity.
Zalameda cited as an example Smart’s network experience during the recent onslaught of Typhoon Paeng. “Our EXA, automation solution, was able to detect outages and maximize the coverage of sites that can compensate for those impacted by the typhoon. It helped us be more agile in solving our network problems and enabled us to restore our network immediately to serve our subscribers.” “You cannot run a complex network with manual work. We intend to evolve more of our manual tasks to be more automated, which will make us faster, more precise, and agile,” he said.
Djakhongir Siradjev, CTO of P.I. Works said: “We are honored to be partnered with Smart and contribute to their success toward delivering superior customer experience. We are confident that in collaboration with Smart, we will achieve more success in network management empowered by automation and AI.”
Ananda Mukherjee, Head of Sales – APAC at P.I. Works said: “With the global expertise that we have on our automation portfolio, P.I. Works has been able to consistently help Smart to achieve its quality, efficiency, and organizational transformation requirements.”
As of end-September, Smart had deployed 77,200 base stations, including 7,300 5G base stations and close to 40,000 4G/LTE base stations across the country. Smart’s network covers 97% of the population with 3G, LTE, and 5G.
Smart’s mobile network is supported by PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country. As of end-September, PLDT had expanded its total fiber footprint to about 1,091,000 kilometers, consisting of over 231,000 kilometers of international fiber and almost 860,000 kilometers of domestic fiber.