Smart Speed Boost

Opensignal sees improvements in PH 4G availability, download speeds

Mobile network experience in the Philippines has had “impressive improvements” since 2017 as Filipinos spent more time on 4G/LTE, according to the latest analysis by independent mobile analytics firm Opensignal.

The analysis, which is available on Opensignal’s website, found that between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2020, 4G Availability in the Philippines increased by nearly 20 percentage points.

For customers of PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), 4G Availability — defined as the proportion of time 4G users spend connected to 4G or LTE — increased by as much as 27.8 points, from 59.1% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 86.9% in the second quarter of 2020.

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Download Speed Experience in the country also increased by around 80% between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the first quarter of 2020, with Smart consistently in the lead over the last two years.

“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.

4G Availability

Opensignal also cited their recent report, “The State of Mobile Network Experience 2020: One year into the 5G Era”2, where 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.”

Opensignal 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/LTE service, when combined with its 3G service, now provides high-speed mobile internet service to over 93% of the country’s cities and municipalities and 95% 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 CEO and PLDT Chief Revenue Officer.