The Philippines’ mobile internet download speeds and fourth generation (4G) network coverage have improved over the past two years, according to the latest report by independent mobile analytics firm Opensignal.
Opensignal said between fourth quarter of 2017 and first quarter of 2020, the country’s average download speed rose from 4.7 Megabits per second (Mbps) to 8.5 Mbps, a rise of 3.8 Mbps or 80.9 percent.
During the period, download speeds of Globe Telecom Inc. and Smart Communications Inc. rose by 84.1 percent or 3.5 Mbps and 78 percent or 4.3 Mbps, respectively. Smart has consistently been in the lead for this measure of the mobile network experience.
“One important contributing factor is the improvements that our users in the Philippines have seen over the past two years in 4G Availability – the percentage of time that our 4G users are connected on average to 4G,” Opensignal said.
Between fourth quarter of 2017 and second quarter of 2020, 4G availability in the country rose by 19.5 percentage points and pushed past the 80 percent mark.
“Our users in the Philippines have also seen at least 10 consecutive quarters of improvement in the proportion of time that they spend connected to 4G,” Opensignal said.
Switching to an operator-level look at 4G availability, it said in the past two years, Globe’s 4G availability score rose by 14.5 percentage points, while Smart’s climbed by 27.8 percentage points.
President Duterte recently warned he would close down the telecom operators unless they improved their services significantly by December.
Opensignal also said in its recent report, “The State of Mobile Network Experience 2020: One year into the 5G Era,” the Philippines ranked 67th out of 100 countries for 4G Availability.
“This means that the Philippines had a higher score than a third of all the countries covered in the report for this measure of the mobile experience,” it added.
It stressed the importance of network investments in improving overall network experience.
“4G Availability rises as operators invest in their 4G networks and it is very sensitive in this regard, as the most common dead zones users struggle with occur indoors and this is where most of our availability data is collected. Given that 4G speeds far exceed those typically seen on 3G, an increase in 4G Availability is typically associated with a rise in average download speeds,” Opensignal said.
To date, Smart’s 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) service, when combined with its 3G service, provides high-speed mobile internet service to over 93 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities and 95 percent of the population.
“The results of these speed tests over the past several years show the impact of our sustained network investments, particularly in LTE, in delivering progressively better internet services to our customers. We are continuing that investment effort as we further expand the reach of our LTE service and as we start rolling out 5G,” said Alfredo Panlilio, Smart president and chief executive officer and PLDT Inc. chief revenue officer.