More 5G phones are slated for release early next year, which is why telecom companies are already preparing for the next generation of wireless connectivity. The race to 5G is pretty tight, but the first to kickstart its 5G network in the Philippines is PLDT along with its wireless arm Smart.
The sister companies activated the first 5G cell site in the Philippines — not just one though, but two. In partnership with Huawei, the first 5G tower is located right in the heart of Makati City where PLDT’s headquarters is located. The second one is at Clark Smart 5G City within the premises of Clark Freeport Zone and the technology partner is Ericsson.
With two 5G cell sites already up and running, PLDT and Smart are one of the pioneers of the 5G network in the world. Only a few telco operators in the world have 5G base stations and they are in developed countries.
For now, the 5G service is not available to consumers. PLDT and Smart are yet to come up with 5G solutions and applications especially for central business districts like Makati. There’s no exact date when regular consumers can experience 5G connectivity, but PLDT and Smart are already deploying 5G-ready equipment for LTE-enabled towers nationwide.
According to PLDT, they have the most extensive fiber network in the Philippines spanning over 221,000 kilometers. With Smart as the wireless arm, both claim to be in the best position to deploy 5G in the country.
Tech brands celebrating Pride month
LGBTQ+ rights are human rights
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a series of protests widely regarded as the historic event that ignited the gay liberation movement and the first Pride parade in 1970.
A lot of companies are joining in this year’s celebration by changing their logos or selling limited edition merchandise to show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, but being an ally doesn’t stop at plastering a rainbow on everything and using #Pride online for the month of June. Here, we have compiled a list of tech brands who have taken concrete steps in creating equal opportunities for everyone and a more inclusive culture, not just this month but all year round:
Apple released a new watch band and watch face for the Apple Watch at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) this year in celebration of Pride. A portion of its proceeds will be donated to LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations including Encircle, Gender Spectrum, and the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Apart from Pride merch, Apple has long supported inclusion and diversity by hiring and advocating on behalf of underrepresented minorities, including LGBTQ+ people. For this, the company has been receiving a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index for 16 years now — a benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices pertinent to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer employees.
A culture that is more inclusive unlocks the innovation that fuels the ultimate creativity. Join us as we stand up to support our #LGBTQ team members by celebrating #PrideMonth. https://t.co/e3HMJfVfuq pic.twitter.com/oicJrpOKUi
— Dell Social Impact (@Dell4Impact) June 12, 2019
Since 2002 Dell has been actively participating in and leading initiatives that support the LGBTQ+ community that the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index also deems the company as one of the best places to work for LGBT equality. The company provides healthcare benefits to its LGBTQ+ employees including parental leave, adoption assistance, and gender transition toolkit.
Dell is an active sponsor of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, a nonprofit organization that partners with Top Fortune 500 companies in building resources and hosting events to help other companies around the globe in achieving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workplace equality. This year, Dell also hosted a Pride month training for its Nashville office to help its employees become better allies to the community.
June 4 Google Doodle is a celebration of 50 years of Pride, created by Doodler Nate Swinehart who says, “working on this Doodle was a very personal project for me. As a member of the LBGTQ+ community, I am very familiar with the struggle of feeling included, accepted, and that I am a ‘part’ of this world.” Google also put up Pride Forever, which aims to preserve LGBTQ+ history for future generations by extending the Stonewall National Monument from its physical location in New York City to a digital experience that anyone can access on pride.google.com.
Apart from programs that support minorities, Google has Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) comprised of LGBT Googlers and their allies called Gayglers, as well as Trans at Google that seeks to ensure that the company’s products and policy stances are inclusive of all gender identities and expressions.
Instagram recognizes that many of its users are members of the LGBTQ+ community. To celebrate Pride this year, the platform will display relevant hashtags in a rainbow gradient including #lgbtq, #bornperfect, and #pride2019 for a month. Using the hashtags in Stories will also turn the story ring into rainbow instead of Instagram’s gradient.
Instagram is updating gender options for users as well, “to be more inclusive and reflective of how people self-identify today.” There is also an LGBTQ+ teen guide on online well-being and self-care that Instagram created with The Trevor Project.
Like Instagram, Lyft now offers a range of pronoun options to support transgender and non-binary riders. For transitioning drivers, Lyft provides them assistance with changing the name and gender designation on their driver’s license together with the National Center for Transgender Equality. Through its Round Up & Donate feature has donated over $5 million to HRC and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Lyft also has a Gender Inclusion & Affirmation policy created by members of the company’s LGBTQ+ employee resource group, LyftOUT, that lays out comprehensive protections and benefits for its employees.
Later this month Microsoft is releasing a Surface Pro Pride Type Cover designed with and for the LGBTQ+ community, and donating US$ 100,000 to nonprofits in celebration of Pride. For its employees Microsoft has implemented anti-discrimination policies and benefits since 1989. In 1993, they were one of the first companies in the world to offer employee benefits to same-sex partners. Microsoft is also one of the companies that’s received a perfect score from HRC’s Corporate Equality Index.
To quote Microsoft, “we’ve come far in the last 50 years after Stonewall, but we haven’t gone far enough.” In many countries where tech companies operate, being queer is still a crime and LGBTQ+ rights are still not recognized.
It takes more than just hearing voices of the community to make the world more inclusive and non-discriminatory — individual allies and corporations play a big role in amplifying the movement. Let’s celebrate Pride not just by buying rainbow products that donate to a good cause or using hashtags this month, but also by eliminating bias in everything that we do and pushing for equal rights in the workplace and local communities until we no longer have to.
Facebook will launch a cryptocurrency called Libra in 2020
In partnership with Mastercard, Visa, Uber, and many others
Facebook is more than just social networking. They’re also a hardware company and a software developer. Soon, the social media giant will also serve financial services using their own cryptocurrency called Libra. With the creation of Libra is a new Facebook subsidiary named Calibra, which will handle the company’s global currency powered by blockchain technology.
According to Facebook, Libra is aimed to help people save, send, or spend money even if they don’t have a bank account. Basically, Calibra will be a financial service app that uses Libra for its transactions. It’ll allow users to use Libra on mobile and send to almost anyone.
It’s worth noting that Libra isn’t like Bitcoin. Libra will be a form of digital money backed by a reserve of assets. Moreover, Facebook is not alone in this venture.
While Facebook is building Libra, it’ll be supported by venture capital firms, crypto firms, nonprofit organizations, and massive corporate financial, technology, and telecommunications service providers. The list includes Mastercard, Visa, Coinbase, eBay, PayPal, Stripe, Spotify, Uber, Lyft, and Vodafone.
The end goal is to create a truly mainstream cryptocurrency. Libra is envisioned to be a decentralized global form of payment. It’ll be used to buy almost anything. It’s also planned to be used for loans and credit.
Any financial transactions will require personal information and privacy isn’t Facebook’s strongest suit. Although, the company says Calibra will not share account information or financial data with its servers or any third party without the customer’s consent.
By 2020, Calibra will introduce a digital wallet for Libra which will be available in Facebook’s Messenger, WhatsApp, and as a standalone app. Calibra is still in its early stages and Facebook will have to take an extra step to overcome the hurdles this new cryptocurrency has to face, especially when it comes to privacy.
Huawei on getting to top spot: ‘This process may take longer’
Admits that there are other priorities
By now, it’s become clear that the US trade ban saga against Huawei won’t end any time soon. Despite the support of fellow tech companies and occasionally positive news, the Chinese manufacturer realizes that solving this issue is top priority.
It was made even more evident after Shao Yang, chief strategy officer of Huawei Consumer Business Group, admitted that there’s been a change in Huawei’s plan to reach the number one spot in smartphone market share.
“We would have become the largest in the fourth quarter (of this year) but now we feel that this process may take longer,” said Shao Yan.
Recently, Huawei overtook Apple for second place in global smartphone market share to trail behind only Samsung. Chipping away at the South Korean brand’s spot will have to take a break for now.
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