THE CONTINUED GROWTH of fifth-generation (5G) network is expected to ease the problem of inconsistent connection in the fourth generation (4G) platforms, OpenSignal, which maps wireless coverage worldwide, said.
An OpenSignal report published on Wednesday, “The 5G Opportunity: How 5G will solve the congestion problems of today’s 4G networks,” noted the immediate benefits of 5G in terms of resolving congestion issues with the 4G network.
“5G is usually touted because of its speed, but more significantly 5G will provide a solid foundation of capacity that will iron out the wild fluctuations we see in 4G speeds today,” it said.
The report, which evaluated data from 94 million devices across 77 countries in 2018, found that 4G download speeds in the Philippines could fall as low as 6.9 megabits per second (Mbps) at certain times of day, with peak performance at 19.0 Mbps.
Of the 77 countries in the study, the Philippines was 11th in speed variability, or the difference in download speeds between the fastest and slowest recorded levels. OpenSignal said a wide range indicates greater congestion pressure on networks.
The firm noted that the 4G network is challenged by shifting Internet speeds throughout the day because of the heavy traffic on its frequency bands. But with the coming of 5G, “high-bandwidth, high-frequency spectrum bands” are expected to increase network capacity.
“[T]he new 5G bands will open up hundreds of megahertz of new extremely high frequency spectrum for mobile broadband use, delivering much greater capacity to minimize the effect of congestion,” OpenSignal said.
The average download speed in the Philippines is currently 9.4 Mbps, with the 6.9-Mbps slowest hour kicking in at 9 p.m., when the network is most congested.
OpenSignal said the 5G network will eventually be necessary as inconsistent connection in a 4G network may soon be detrimental to certain use-cases in the future.
“As the mobile Internet evolves, these fluctuations in speed will become untenable… Future mobile apps and services won’t just demand fast speeds but will need consistent connections,” it said.
Smart Communications, Inc. commissioned its first two 5G cell sites in late 2018, and is expected to add more locations further this year. Globe Telecom, Inc., is also scheduled to launch its 5G services in the second quarter.
Smart is the wireless unit of PLDT, Inc. Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Denise A. Valdez
4G network congestion?