Masbad: The state of Philippines mobile networks

Wacky Tech

THIS is technically a continuing series. The last one, I wrote about last year around August. So, finally, earlier this month, OpenSignal sent me a link to their latest report on the state of the Philippines’ mobile networks.

And right off the bat, it’s a one-sided battle between Globe and Smart.

Before we move forward here, you can check OpenSignal’s methodology in arriving at these conclusions through this link.

Anyway, back to the report.

4G availability

Both networks are steadily making 4G more available to more and more people across the archipelago. That’s a good thing. The simple result is that more and more Filipinos will be able to go online and access information as they need it. Aside from accessing information, there’s also the opened opportunities of doing business with a broader market considering that the online market is now something people can access as well.

And as we inch closer to the day when the third telco player comes online, 4G (and maybe then, 5G) is made available to a broader number of Filipinos. My wish here is that it also becomes more available in the rural areas. Connectivity in terms of data and communication signals is become a vital need especially in times of disasters.

As it is right now, it would seem that the availability of 4G is concentrated in the big metropolitan areas of the nation. I know that it makes business sense to make sure the cities are well covered because commerce moves in and out of these cities. But in the spirit of keeping the entire nation connected with one another, I still hope that the entire archipelago is fully covered in 4G.

Download speed experience

This is what matters to a lot of people. How fast can you download data and information onto your device. And the clear winner in this department is Smart. Globe’s national average at 5.5 Mbps is, to me, a far cry from Smart’s 9.0 Mbps average.

Although Opensignal’s report says that the general trend in download speed is encouraging, it still is disheartening to see such a low number coming from Globe’s networks. If you’re a Globe user, this will hurt a bit. You’re paying as much but they can only provide that kind of speed. And for almost the same amount, you get a better download speed experience with Smart. That’s quite a compelling reason to switch over if you ask me.

Latency experience

As I mentioned in a previous article, download speeds won’t count for much really if network latency is too high. This is one metric that we, Filipinos, should take into heart and be more mindful of. Lower latency numbers will generally mean a better internet experience as a whole. So how did the two networks fare?

When you’re looking at that infographic, keep in mind that a smaller number is the better one. Although, Globe isn’t far behind Smart; falling behind only 5.2 milliseconds. Hopefully, this will improve in the coming months and years.

Regional analysis

It’s not as regional as you might think. OpenSignal only showed three “regions” in their report represented by three cities - Manila, Davao and Cebu. As a personal note, I’d take this with lots of grains of salt because this portion of the report, might not be a good representation of the region where those cities are.

For example, when it says Davao there, does it mean all the Davao regions - Davao Oriental, Davao del Norte, Davao del Sur, Davao Occidental, Davao de Oro - or is it just the City of Davao. I’d hope for a more granular report that’s broken down into the current regional separations of the Philippines.

Anyway, here’s are the figures from each of those three cities.





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