The State of LTE (again)

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TWO months ago, I wrote about this based on a report written by OpenSignal. Here I am again with a brand new report from them about the state of LTE in the Philippines. Were there any improvements or not? Time to find out.

Before we dive in, please be reminded that OpenSignal has their own way of gathering the data they used to come up with the reports they publish. If you have questions about the methodology, you may get in touch with them through their website.

Not that’s out of the way, let me begin by saying that as of this writing, there are only three reports on the Philippines found on the OpenSignal website.

Of course, I’m perusing the March 2018 report.

First off, I did notice a drop in the number of “measurements" they took from the last report to this new one. Keep in mind that the previous report covered a sample period from May 1 to July 31, 2017. The latest report covers November 2, 2017 to January 31, 2018. The previous report covered 1,048,336,696 measurements while the latest report covered 771,762,782 measurements. Whether that has an effect on the results or not, I can’t say. We’ll have to ask OpenSignal about it. In fact, I’ll try and reach out to them and see what I get.

Here’s the summary, if you will, for the March 2018 report they published.

If you’re wondering about how we, as a country, fare against our Asian neighbors, I don’t know yet because OpenSignal has not updated its global report from the latest one they posted back in February 2018 which I already discussed about in my previous article. This will just be a quick run through of the latest results of OpenSignals data gathering. Judging by how OpenSignal summarized its report, I’d keep my hopes low about whether our mobile networks improved by leaps and bounds. “Little has changed” is what OpenSignal said. And I agree.

In the six months since our last look at the Philippines, little has changed in OpenSignal's speed, availability and latency rankings. That’s to be expected though since there are still only two mobile operators for now, but a third choice may be coming soon to shake things up. Until then, it’s a two-horse race with customers having a choice between more 4G availability on the one hand, and faster LTE speeds on the other. (emphasis mine)

In the end, it will now depend on what you value more -- speed or availability. It looks like our two mobile networks can’t provide both. And there’s not much we can do about it.

That table alone will tell you which network you should be on if you value speed. And who doesn’t value speed, right? Right. But once you start asking yourself, how often will I be able to get LTE? You’d be thinking twice. But not so much, I guess, based on the table below.

Globe may be ahead when it comes to availability, it’s not really ahead by so much from Smart. Things are making it hard for you to make a decision, right?

And let’s talk about speed. 4G speed. Because that’s what matters more.

Now, here’s where things get really interesting. That’s an almost 5Mbps difference between the two. Five! 1... 2... 3... 4... 5! That’s a lot, if you ask me. In fact, Smart outperforms Globe again on another data point - latency on 4G.

What does that mean? Well, to me, it means that Smart’s networks are quicker on their feet when transporting data through the network. So when you tap on the send button on a messenger app, it arrives at the recipient faster. Well, about 13ms faster. That might be just a blink of an eye for the most of us, but in the world of data connectivity, every millisecond counts. Ask any gamer and they’ll tell you that low latency is a prime commodity.

Moving on.

How do things look on a nationwide scale though broken down into each major region. Check out the table below.

Because I’m from Davao and that’s in Mindanao, I had to check.

Whoa! That’s one heck of a difference in terms of speed. 7-whole-Mbps in difference. That’s pretty significant to me.

I’ll let you browse the entirety of the report as published on the website. Click on this link for the report.

So what do you think? How do you feel about this? Is it time for a third player in the mobile telecoms industry? Is it time for us to enact into law both Senate Bill No. 1636 and House Bill No. 7148 both also known as “The Lifetime Cellphone Number Act.”

Let us know.


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