WIFI USE in the country rose consistently in March, registering Asia’s largest increase in internet use by the third week, a global mobile analytics company said.

OpenSignal data on smartphone WiFi use amid the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic said time on WiFi in the Philippines grew 4.2% week-on-week to 55.8% in the second week of March, according to their metric.

Time on WiFi then jumped by 13.4% to 63.3% by the third week, the largest week-on-week increase among the Asian countries the company is tracking.

“To put this in perspective, we only observed higher increases in Peru and Spain — 20.4% and 16.8%, respectively.”

President Rodrigo R. Duterte announced the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon on March 16 to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. The strict social distancing measures are expected to be lifted by 12 am on April 13.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology said the lockdown slowed Internet speeds, and telecommunications service providers PLDT, Inc. and Globe Telecom, Inc. said they are working to improve capacity as more people worked from home.

Since January, weekly WiFi use in the country fluctuated between 51.9% and 54.3% prior to the March surge.

As of the third week of March, Philippine WiFi use fell behind only Vietnam among Asian countries, as Vietnam had 69.9% time spent on WiFi. The country consistently reaches above 65% per week in 2020.

Other countries that had significant WiFi use in the third week of March include Germany (71.4%), Argentina (72.5%), Brazil (70.1%), and Canada (76.3%). — Jenina P. Ibañez