PH internet speed for mobile jumps 14 notches in Speedtest Global Index
MANILA, Philippines — The country’s mobile internet speed has improved and jumped 14 notches higher than its previous ranking, according to a global speed test.
According to Ookla’s Speedtest Global Index, the Philippines ranked 96 out of 139 countries in terms of mobile data speed, having an average of 22.50 megabits per second (Mbps) in December compared to 18.49 Mbps in November.
“With a total of 118 million tests conducted in all of the country’s regions, cities and municipalities throughout 2020, the monthly increase in the speed of 4Mbps for mobile from November to December was the highest monthly increase since July 2016,” Ookla said in its report.
The improvement in the mobile internet connection’s speed also pushed up the country’s rank to 29th from 34th out of 50 Asian countries and to 19th from 22 out of 46 Asia Pacific countries.
The change comes after President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive last July 2020 on the need to expedite the facilitation of LGU permits with building cellular towers as the reason for the recent improvement. The order brought up a significant increase in the issuance of permits from July to December 2020 vis-à-vis the average monthly number of permits issued in 2019.
The National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) also reported that in 2019, a monthly average of 63 permits were issued for Globe and a monthly average of 50 for Smart. However, the average monthly number of permits issued from July to December 2020 increased by 552.65% (348 permits) for Globe and 194.33% (97 permits) for Smart.
More cellular towers were also built due to the fast-tracking of the issuance of permits. From July to December, a total of 2,939 additional towers/physical sites were set up. In total, there are 22,834 cellular towers in the country. Of the sum, 10,395 belonged to Globe while 10,079 were for Smart and DITO.
In 2020, Smart/PLDT rolled out a total of 144,551 cable-kilometers of fiber optic with additional 106,914 cable-kilometers. Meanwhile, Globe had 13,414, Converge had 10,167, and DITO with 14,056 cable-kilometers more.
“Telcos also continue to invest heavily on their fiber-optic network with a total of 543,740 cable-kilometers already laid out all over the country to date. Smart/PLDT currently has the widest network with 429,270 cable-kilometers of fiber optic built. Globe has laid out 67,414 cable-kilometers, Converge with 33,000 and DITO with 14,056,” said Ookla.
The Common Tower Policy of the government is also meant to generate a faster rollout of telco infrastructure to meet the increasing demand for mobile internet services. Constructing additional towers is believed to be essential in drastically increasing internet speeds to enable the country to be more competitive globally.
According to Globe, it has finalized partnerships with 11 tower companies, while Smart said that it already has dealt with nine tower companies.
DITO’s launch on March 2021 has also pushed Globe and Smart to increase capital expenditures significantly with Globe set to spend P90 billion, and Smart P92 billion in 2021. Both investments are the highest annually for each telco for the past six years.
DITO expressed plans to spend P150 billion in 2020 for its infrastructure rollout.
The NTC instructed all telecommunication companies to submit their rollout plans for this year so the commission can closely monitor the telcos’ progress in helping improve the country’s internet speed further.
The agency also said that it shall extend telcos any assistance for the smooth implementation of their roll-out plans.
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