OpenSignal: Smart tops LTE speed, Globe has better coverage
OpenSignal, a United Kingdom-based wireless coverage mapping company, said the Philippines remained a global laggard in high-speed mobile internet (LTE), based on a crowdsourced survey that nevertheless showed promising signs of moving forward.
OpenSignal released on Monday its State of Mobile Networks report on the Philippines, which mainly focused on LTE speed and coverage provided by the country’s two telco operators PLDT Inc. (Smart Communications) and Globe Telecom.
The results showed that Smart provided the fastest LTE speed, at 9.87 megabits per second, ahead of Globe’s 7.4 mbps. On the other hand, Globe had better coverage, with its subscribers getting an LTE signal more than half the time at 55.3 percent. Smart’s LTE subscribers were able to avail of the service 40 percent of the time.
OpenSignal, which ran the survey that included over 500 million measurements from 29,000 smartphone users from Nov. 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2017, said both operators were still behind by global standards.
“Both operators’ speed scores fell well short of the global average of 17.4 Mbps, while roughly half of our mobile data speed tests failed to acquire an LTE signal,” OpenSignal said.
“4G in the Philippines may not be able to match just yet the high-powered, far-reaching networks we’re seeing in many countries in East Asia, but there’s good news in the horizon,” it added. “Both Smart and Globe have announced aggressive plans to expand their LTE footprints and capacity, building thousands of new cell sites and tapping new frequency bands.”
Globe and Smart, meanwhile, were tied in terms of 3G download speed (2.24 mbps for Globe and 2.12 mbps for Smart), OpenSignal’s report showed. This technology remained prevalent given limited LTE coverage and LTE-capable handsets.
Operators worldwide are moving to LTE. In the Philippines, LTE frequencies were the main target of PLDT Inc. and Globe’s joint acquisition of San Miguel Corp.’s telco unit, which had yet to start operations. Ahead of the P70-billion transaction in May 2016, PLDT and Globe had signed a co-use deal with SMC to utilize its coveted frequencies, including those in the 700 Megahertz band.
In its survey, Open Signal also looked into latency, which measures the responsiveness of an operator’s network. While Globe and Smart were tied in 4G latency, at 55.6 milliseconds (ms) and 53.2 ms, respectively, Smart edged ahead of Globe in 3G latency at 157 ms versus 190.4 ms. RAM