PHL telcos get mixed 4G service test results

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GLOBE Telecom, Inc. led regionally in 4G availability while Smart Communications, Inc. led in 4G speeds, mirroring national results, a London-based company said.

In its latest update, wireless mapping company OpenSignal said that like the national results from tests conducted between May to July this year, regional results showed that Globe dominated 4G availability while the PLDT, Inc. subsidiary had better results in 4G speed tests, except in the Visayas where the telcos tied for speed with average download speeds of 7 megabits per second (Mbps).

National test results of OpenSignal released in September showed that for the test period, Smart’s overall download speed of 4.16 Mbps beat Globe’s 3.39 Mbps, based on the average download speed across a telecommunications operator’s 3G and 4G networks. As for availability, users were able to latch onto Globe’s long-term evolution (LTE) signals more than 62.6% of the time.

Both operators recorded significant improvements in their availability scores, with a 12 percentage point-increase for Smart and 7 percentage points for Globe.

OpenSignal said 4G availability, which measures percentage of time OpenSignal users had access to an LTE signal, was much higher in the National Capital Region (NCR), with availability for both operators higher in the said area than their national averages. Globe recorded 72.5%, 10 points higher than its national average (62.6%), while Smart’s 67.5% was almost 15 points higher than its national performance (52.7%).

“This shouldn’t come as a surprise as the NCR is essentially the metro area of Manila, a very densely populated region,” the company said in its update.

In Visayas and Mindanao, Globe roughly matched its national 4G availability but fell short of the said benchmark for the rest of Luzon.

Smart’s results in Visayas improved slightly on its national availability result, but also did not meet the national standard in results in other regions. For example, in North Central Luzon, Smart was only able to provide an LTE connection 34% of the time.

Still, Smart had big margins for 4G speed in NCR and Mindanao. “In those two regions Smart not only exceeded its national average LTE download speed of 10.6 Mbps, but it beat out Globe by huge margins in our test results (by more than 4 Mbps in both cases),” OpenSignal said.

For the remaining regions, OpenSignal said there was a “more even contest,” particularly in the Visayas where the telcos were statistically tied, but Smart “definitely had the upper hand.”

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Patrizia Paola C. Marcelo