It's not that easy to live in a bubble. This is especially true for TNT Tropang Giga players and staff who have been staying inside the PBA Bubble in Clark, Pampanga, since last month.
For Tropang Giga’s bigman Troy Rosario, he relies on his smartphone and the Smart LTE available in their location to stay in touch with his family back home. “I am able to use FaceTime and Messenger because I have fast LTE here. I can talk to my family and kids during my free time,” said Rosario
Meanwhile, forward David Semerad said he can maximize his breaks and catch up with his loved ones. “I use the messaging apps on my Smart LTE phone throughout the day, and usually at nighttime, even when I’m eating,” he said.
Because of the pandemic, professional basketball players like Rosario and Semerad could only interact with their fans online to avoid the spread of the virus. On the other hand, fans of TNT Tropang GIGA can easily keep up with the team’s updates on the following official social media accounts:
1. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TNTTropangGIGA
2. Twitter: @tnttropanggiga
3. Instagram: @tnttropanggiga
Sports in the new normal
This pandemic has served as the proving ground for a lot of relatively new technology, especially for sports. Here in the Philippines, Smart has powered the PBA Bubble with 5G technology.
“This has paved the way for the use of TV cameras equipped with 5G, helping us capture the on-court action efficiently. There is a 94-foot-wide LED screen beside the court, where the players can see their spectators. Again: Connectivity enables the sports, while the sport provides an avenue for the application of new technology. Representatives of FIBA—the international basketball federation—have actually expressed their interest in our country’s bubble, both in livestreaming our games on their digital channels, and in using us as one case study for organizing similar bubbles in the future,” said Al S. Panlilio, PLDT Chief Revenue Officer and Smart President & CEO.
“The PBA Board of Governors worked very hard to bring back the game that Filipinos love: basketball. We would like to thank the PBA family, and our partners for making this happen, most especially all PBA fans our inspiration. With the help of PLDT and Smart, we’re able to set a milestone in PBA history for having the first 5G-powered sports broadcast in the country, as well as fast connectivity in the bubble. Continue to tune in as the games go to the quarters,” said Ricky Vargas, Chairman of the Philippine Basketball Association, TNT Governor to the PBA, and PLDT Business Transformation Office Head.
In the third quarter of 2020, Smart rolled out an additional 279 5G base stations as it accelerates its 5G commercial services nationwide.
Smart, which first launched its 5G service commercially in July, also rolled out Smart 5G in key areas in Boracay, Cebu, Iloilo and Davao in September. These areas added to the live Smart 5G sites in Makati Central Business District (CBD), Bonifacio Global City CBD, Araneta City, Mall of Asia Bay Area, North Avenue in Quezon City, Taft Avenue in Manila, Ortigas CBD, New Clark City in Pampanga, EDSA, and in strategic locations in the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, and the cities of Manila, Quezon City, Makati, Taguig, Pasig, Mandaluyong, Marikina, Paranaque, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Navotas, San Juan, and Pasay.
Underpinning this performance are PLDT and Smart’s ramped-up nationwide rollout of their fixed and wireless networks.
To date, Smart’s mobile data networks cover 95% of the Philippine population. As of September 2020, Smart has increased the number of its LTE base stations by 17%, compared to end-2019. Smart’s mobile service is supported by PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country at 395,000 kilometers, up by 22% from end-2019.
The PLDT Group’s investments in capital expenditures have totaled Php 432 billion from 2011 to September 2020. PLDT’s expansion efforts and investments helped the Group cope with sustained growth in data traffic when COVID-19 community quarantines commenced in March. PLDT is anticipating capex of at least P70 billion for 2020.