By Arjay L. Balinbin, Senior Reporter

PHILIPPINE MOBILE internet speeds improved further in November, with its global ranking climbing four places to 90th out of 138 countries, latest data from Ookla showed.

Its median download speed for mobile internet rose to 18.68 megabits per second (Mbps) from 18.21 Mbps in October. Mobile upload speed rose to 5.64 Mbps from 5.39 Mbps.

Mobile internet latency, which measures how quickly a device gets a response after its user sends out a request, remained at 24 milliseconds (ms) said Ookla, the network testing company behind Speedtest.

Experts have cited slow and unreliable internet connections in the Southeast Asian nation, whose people are said to be one of the most active social media users in the world.

Smart Communications, Inc., the wireless arm of PLDT, Inc., topped Ookla’s speed rankings in the Philippines in the third quarter. It was the fastest mobile operator with a score of 59.71 on modern chipsets. Smart also had the lowest latency at 20 ms.

Globe Telecom, Inc. scored 28.38, while new telecommunication player DITO Telecommunity Corp. scored of 25.34. Globe’s median latency was 25 ms, while DITO’s was 24 ms.

Smart also had the fastest median download speed at 217.03 Mbps for 5G connections, followed by Globe at 114.12 Mbps.

Speedtest data also showed that Caloocan City had the fastest median mobile download speed among the country’s most populous cities at 22.05 Mbps, followed by Quezon City (20.93 Mbps), Manila (18.80 Mbps), Cebu City (15.09 Mbps), and Davao City (14.23 Mbps).

The Philippine mobile service market is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.6% to $5.4 billion by 2026, according to United Kingdom-based data analytics and consulting firm GlobalData.

This is primarily “due to the rising adoption of mobile data services,” it said on its website.

“Mobile data revenue will grow at the fastest CAGR of 6.6% between 2021 and 2026, due to growing 4G subscriptions and the planned rollout of 5G services.”

Meanwhile, the country’s ranking in terms of fixed broadband fell one place in November to 72nd out of 181 countries. But download speed for the month went up to 46.44 Mbps from 45.52 Mbps in October.

Fixed broadband’s upload speed rose to 38.14 Mbps from 37.16 Mbps in October. Latency remained at 6 ms.

GlobalData said the market for fixed-line telecommunication services in the Philippines is projected to hit $4.7 billion by 2026, equivalent to a CAGR of 5%, from a starting point of $3.6 billion this year.

GlobalData expects healthy growth in broadband subscriptions as well as rising broadband average revenue per user.

Digital subscriber lines will remain the “dominant fixed broadband technology with 36.7% share of the total fixed broadband subscriptions in 2021, but will gradually lose its market share over the forecast period,” according to Hrushikesh Mahananda, a telecommunication analyst at GlobalData.

“Fiber broadband lines, on the other hand, will increase at a robust CAGR of 17.2% over the forecast period, supported by government and operator investments in fiber network infrastructure and fiber to the home service expansions,” he added.