Customers’ perception of telcos improves with entry of third competitor — Ookla
MANILA, Philippines — The perception of customers towards telecommunication companies’ performance and services improved with the entry of a third company that broke the duopoly in the country, network speed analyst Ookla said on Friday.
In an assessment posted on its website, Ookla said that consumer attitudes shifted in a positive direction from 2021 to 2022, based on data gathered from Speedtest’s Consumer Sentiment which internet users answer every after speed test and the Net Promoter Score (NPS) of each network.
Compiled data revealed that in 2021, Smart Communications got an average rating of 3.34 rating which jumped to 3.60 by 2022. Globe Telecom on the other hand went from 2.98 in 2021 to 3.29. Both garnered positive 0.3 rating changes on a year-on-year basis.
Dito Telecommunity, the newest player in the industry, however, saw its scores drop from 2021 to 2022, from 4.34 to 3.35. However, these scores are not far from what Smart and Globe registered.
The following scores, Ookla said, indicate that customers are more satisfied now than in previous years.
“Upon its entry into the market, DITO was rated most highly, which reflected its approach to winning customers’ mindshare. This, however, has changed — as of Q1 2022, Smart came first in ratings,” Ookla said.
“Noteworthy though, is the overall improvement across operators, which is also linked with the mobile speeds increase,” it added.
Ookla did not mention any correlation between Dito’s entry and its effect on the competition, but it noted the company had an impact on how the internet is provided in the country.
According to the analytics firm, overall 4G performance improved in the country because telco companies invested more, and also due to reforms in regulation. Also, Dito’s current status as a 4G-only for now also means that both Smart and Globe placed more money on improving infrastructure.
“Our analysis suggests that DITO’s entry combined with regulatory changes, resulted in more network investment and an overall improvement in 4G coverage and performance across all operators,” Ookla said.
“As such, Smart reported that on December 31, 2021, Smart had a total of 38,600 4G/LTE base stations, which has further increased to 39,500 in Q1 2022. This corresponds to population coverage across Smart’s 3G, 4G, and 5G networks of 97% in Q1 2022. The majority of devices (81%) are “latched” onto the operator’s 4G network,” it added.
For 4G performance, Smart was still at the top with median download speeds of 18.51 megabits per second (Mbps), followed by Dito’s 15.77 Mbps, and Globe’s 12.59 Mbps.
Dito’s speeds however decreased due to higher congestion as more users opt for the said telco company. However, latency for Dito improved in a year, from 35 milliseconds (ms) to 26 ms in 2022.
“Since DITO is a 4G-only operator, it is not surprising that it also had the best 4G Availability in Q1 2022 (91.2%), ahead of Globe (84.9%) and Smart (83.8%) that provide access to all network technologies 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G,” Ookla said.
“Additionally, Dito, despite facing challenges raising funding, plans to invest PHP 50 billion ($915 million) during 2022 in the network roll out in order to adhere to its license obligations, which we outlined here, that specify its population coverage and network speeds,” it added.
Internet speeds have been a problem in the country for the longest time — concerns that turned worse during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as stay-at-home policies meant families relied more on digital technology more than before.
However, the government credits the reforms made by the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) and to the threat by former president Rodrigo Duterte in his July 2020 State of the Nation Address that Globe and Smart may face expropriation if services did not improve by the end of that year.
Since then, Ookla has reported successive increases in median download speeds in the country, making strides across the Southeast Asian region.
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