Published by the Visayan Daily Star
Editor-in-Chief & President
Bureau Chief, Dumaguete
MAJA P. DELY
|CARLOS ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA
Although the Philippines is steadily improving its 4G internet service availability and speed, most of our neighbors continue to leave us behind, the latest crowdsourced survey by OpenSignal showed.
The newest State of LTE report that covered 88 countries in the fourth quarter of 2017 focused on 4G or LTE which local players PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom have been rolling out aggressively since 2016. According to the report, 4G availability in the Philippines stood at 63.7 percent versus 58.8 percent during the previous period covering the third quarter of 2017. This put the Philippines at 75 th out of the 88 countries surveyed in terms of availability, or how consistently a user could access a 4G network during a given period of time.
The report also showed that 4G speed in the Philippines went higher to 9.5 megabits per second compared to 8.24 Mbps in the third quarter of 2017. That average speed is faster than Indonesia (8.9 Mbps) but behind Thailand (9.6 Mbps), Malaysia (14.8 Mbps) and Vietnam (21.5 Mbps). It is pathetic compared to Singapore’s list-topping LTE speed of 44.3 Mbps. The Philippines has a long way to go in terms of 4G speed as we currently place 85 th out of the 88 countries surveyed.
LTE usage remains relatively small in the Philippines because the service remains limited by the handsets that can use 4G frequencies but our country cannot afford to be left behind as the industry embraces the latest iterations of technology and its applications that could improve lives.
Improvements are always welcome but when it comes to information technology, any gains we make will always be compared with those of our neighbors and the rest of the world, and from the results of the latest OpenSignal survey, the quality of service being provided by the telecom duopoly in the Philippines is still lagging behind the rest of the world. No wonder President Duterte is adamant about bringing in a third player.
OpenSignal has concluded in the report that LTE speeds around the world have hit a “plateau” of 45 Mbps. If Filipino telecoms accept the challenge to quadruple the average speeds while the rest of the world waits for technological breakthroughs, this temporary lull should be a golden opportunity to improve our infrastructure and services and catch up with our neighbors.*