PH among countries with most improved Video Experience says Opensignal

In its latest study, “The State of Mobile Network Experience in 2020: One year into the 5G Era,” Opensignal says the Philippines’ Video Experience score improved by 32% compared to 2019, ranking fourth worldwide in terms of percentage improvement next to Thailand, Nepal, and Senegal.

Video Experience measures the average video experience of Opensignal users on 3G and 4G networks. It involves measuring real-world video streams and takes picture quality, video loading time, and stall rate into account. The study featured measurements from more than 43 million devices collected from Jan. 1 to March 30 in 2019 and 2020.

The country’s mobile video experience has been improving in recent years as operators continue to roll out LTE nationwide.

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In Opensignal’s latest Philippines Mobile Network Experience Report released in April, which covered the period Nov. 1, 2019-Jan. 29, 2020, PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications Inc. (Smart) posted a score of 55, while the competition logged 39.8.

LTE rollout

With the help of its parent firm PLDT, Smart has improved its video service by pouring significant resources into improving their network, particularly its LTE rollout, to provide the best user experience to their subscribers.

As of end-March, Smart increased the number of 4G/LTE base stations to 26,000, up 6% from end-2019, and 60% more than end-2018. PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, which supports Smart’s network by providing high-capacity links to LTE base stations, is now at 338,500 kilometers nationwide, 5% more than end-2019, and up nearly 40% from end-2018.

In April, Smart further increased the capacity of its LTE network by reallocating its assigned 1800 Mhz frequency from 2G to 4G/LTE. As a result, 3,785 base stations of Smart have also been providing additional capacity for its LTE network.

“Our continuous investments in our network and our ongoing upgrades and expansion projects across the country have allowed us to provide our customers with the best mobile data experience,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering.

Better resiliency

These network investments have also made Smart’s mobile video service more resilient in handling the sharp rise in data traffic during the lockdown due to the COVID pandemic.

In May, Opensignal published an analysis of the resilience of mobile networks in the Philippines amid the COVID-19 emergency and community quarantine.

“As operators in the Philippines reported a dramatic surge in data consumption, we found that the quality of the video streaming experience over 4G connections was resilient,” Opensignal’s Hardik Khatri wrote. The study covered the period Sept. 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, and examined the mobile experience in urban and rural areas in the National Capital Region, North and Central Luzon, South Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

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