Mobile internet resilient


    Mobile broadband services in the Philippines remained resilient even during peak hours, according to a recent study of independent mobile analytics Opensignal.

    In a recent series of insights on the Philippines’ mobile experience, Opensignal said both Smart Communications Inc. and Globe Telecom Inc. users have seen remarkable improvements in many aspects of their mobile network experience over the past few years, both at the national level and regionally.

    Opensignal analyzed the mobile network experience over the course of the day with a focus on three key metrics: fourth generation (4G) download speed, 4G latency experience and 4G video experience.

    Opensignal found that PLDT wireless unit Smart leads competition on all three metrics throughout the day.

    According to Opensignal, while both operators saw similar pattern on 4G download speed by hour of day, Smart’s 4G/Long Term Evolution (LTE) download speeds are consistently higher throughout the day and even in the busier periods when usage and traffic is higher.

    “Smart and Globe’s 4G download speed scores fluctuate over a 24-hour period in a similar way. Both peak around 3-4 a.m., when the majority of users are fast asleep and traffic is at a minimum, followed by a drop-off when the morning commute begins, which is essentially complete by 9 a.m. There’s then a further drop in the mid-evening around 8-9 p.m., when our users are most likely to be using their devices in their leisure time,” Opensignal said.

    The report added the average 4G download speeds observed by users are more than sufficient for web browsing and most productivity apps even during peak hours.

    In terms of 4G video experience, Opensignal noted “a more distinct difference between the two operators.” Video experience measures the quality of video streamed to mobile devices which is calculated by assessing real-world video streams over operators’ networks.

    “Smart 4G users observed an excellent video experience in the early hours of the morning, which fell to a good rating during the working day and dropped to fair during the evening peak,” Opensignal said.

    Globe 4G users had a “fair” video experience across the bulk of the working day, and Globe’s score dropped into the “poor” category during the evening peak, it added.

    Opensignal also measures the 4G latency experience in milliseconds, or the time it takes for data packets to travel across the network between a user’s smartphone and the servers that host mobile apps and websites.

    “Once again the best experience is observed during the early hours of the morning and the worst during the evening peak,” Opensignal said.

    In terms of 4G latency, the report showed Smart also scored marginally better throughout the day.

    With the rollout of 5G in the country, Opensignal said there are more improvements to look forward to given that 5G technology aims to improve network responsiveness and boost capacity and download speeds.

    To support this level of performance and data traffic growth, PLDT and Smart are further ramping up 5G, LTE and fiber rollout. Smart is upgrading its base stations in key areas across the country to 5G to augment data capacity, alongside deploying additional LTE base stations nationwide.