The Philippine capital Manila posted mid-range scores in Internet speed compared to its Southeast Asian neighbors, according to the latest OpenSignal report. But the picture is even brighter if the performance of Smart Communications is taken into account.
According to the report, Manila posted a Download Speed Experience score of 11.2 Mbps. This puts it behind Ho Chi Minh (14.7 Mbps) and Kuala Lumpur (11.8 Mbps) but ahead of Bangkok (9.8 Mbps), Jakarta (8.2 Mbps) and Phnom Penh (6.3 Mbps).
The analysis also showed that Manila posted a “fair” mobile video experience score of 45, alongside the cities of Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, who also fell in the same category.
This new OpenSignal report covers data gathered from February 1 to May 2, 2019.
While the current report has no information per operator, OpenSignal previously released a Mobile Network Experience Report on the Philippines which showed how the country’s operators performed.
The earlier study, which was released in March, showed that in Manila, Smart posted a Download Speed Experience score of 15.2 Mbps and a “good” video experience score of 55.4. These findings were based on crowd-sourced data gathered from Nov. 1, 2018 to Jan. 29, 2019.
Smart’s scores in the March report were well ahead of competition in the Philippines. These scores also put its performance at levels similar to that of neighboring cities like Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh in terms of Download Speed Experience and Video Experience, as reported in the latest analysis.
At the country level, Smart led in four metrics —download and upload speed experience, video experience and latency experience—while it tied with competition in terms of 4G availability.
Download speed experience factors in both 3G and 4G speeds along with the availability of each technology, whereas OpenSignal’s video experience metric uses an International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-based approach for measuring video quality. It is derived from several underlying parameters based on real-world measurements of video streams from the world’s largest video content providers.
Parent company PLDT has poured about US$5 billion into the transformation of its fixed and mobile networks from 2016 to 2020. This year, PLDT has set aside Php78.4 billion further expand coverage and increase capacity to handle the rapid growth in data traffic. Over half of this capex program has been allotted to build up Smart’s mobile network, particularly its LTE and LTE-Advanced facilities.
For this integrated fixed and mobile network upgrades, PLDT and Smart have been recognized by Ookla as the fastest fixed and mobile networks in the Philippines for 2018. Smart has also consistently topped OpenSignal’s Mobile Experience Awards since 2017.
Meanwhile, Canada-based mobile data company Tutela, in a recent study on the State of Mobile Networks in Southeast Asia, said that Smart users were twice as likely to experience ‘excellent’ data connections, which are needed for heavy data uses like video viewing, whereas Germany-based global benchmark leader P3 also cited Smart for offering the country’s best download speeds.
Underpinning this performance is PLDT’s extensive fiber optic transmission and distribution network, now at 259,000 kilometers. This fiber network also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links for its base stations.