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PHL has ‘high level’ of mobile access, download speeds in urban areas — report

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DESPITE a telecommunications duopoly, the Philippines has a “high level” of basic mobile access and the latest wireless and fixed technologies with high downloads speeds in urban areas, according to a report by a United Nations (UN) specialized agency.

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The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), a UN agency for information and communication technologies (ICT), released a report titled “Measuring the Information Society,” said that the Philippines has achieved “a high level of basic mobile access and has deployed the latest wireless and fixed technologies with high download speeds, at least in urban areas.”

ITU also said that there is room for growth for mobile penetration in the Philippines.

“Mobile penetration passed the 100% mark in 2012 but there is room for growth with 84% of homes had a mobile phone (91% in urban areas, 78% in rural areas) (Philippine Statistics Authority, 2014),” ITU said in its report.

ITU said that the two players PLDT Inc., and Globe Telecom, Inc. launched LTE in 2012 and in 2013 deployed LTE-Advanced, with download speeds reaching 1 Gbps.

The UN agency also said that the two players have “extensive” national fiber optic backbone, made up of underground, overhead, and submarine cables. “The country’s strategic location and considerable coastline facilitate access to international submarine cable systems.”

ITU also gave a positive assessment of the overall ICT picture in the Philippines given its population and strong business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

“It is also well endowed with international Internet bandwidth driven by its large overseas population and burgeoning business process outsourcing industry,” ITU said.

Earlier this week, Malacañang said that President Rodrigo R. Duterte has offered a Chinese telco player a space in the industry dominated by PLDT and Globe to provide services and spur competition to improve Internet speed and availability offered by the two players, which have not satisfied consumers.

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

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