Smart delivers fastest LTE speeds in PHL — report

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SMART Communications delivered the fastest average download speeds for users of 3G and Long Term Evolution (LTE) service during the May to July period, according to a report by OpenSignal. In its Mobile Networks Update report for September 2017, the London-based research company said Smart provided the higher overall speeds during the latest test period, improving its performance from the previous test done six months ago in which Smart tied with rival Globe Telecom.

“Smart claimed the award outright in our latest test period. By virtue of the big increase in its availability score, Smart was able to deliver its faster LTE connections to customers more often, leading to an overall speed of 4.2 Mbps in our measurements,” OpenSignal said. The wireless unit of PLDT, Inc.’s overall download speed of 4.16 Mbps beat Globe’s 3.39 Mbps. This shows the average download speed experienced by OpenSignal users across a telecommunications operator’s 3G and 4G networks.

OpenSignal said 3G and 4G speeds “remained steady” for both Smart and Globe in the latest report. Smart led in LTE speed, with an average download of 10.55 Mbps, improving slightly over the last six months, while Globe had a speed of 7.16 Mbps.

For 3G speed, OpenSignal noted Smart and Globe were tied, same as six months ago. Average download speeds for Smart and Globe were at 2.36 Mpbs and 2.25 Mbps.

“In general, speeds in the Philippines remain slow, well below both the global 4G average of 16.2 Mbps and the global 3G average of 4.4 Mbps, as measured in our recent State of LTE report,” OpenSignal said. Meanwhile, OpenSignal said Globe led in 4G availability, with users “able to latch onto Globe’s LTE signals more than 62.6% of the time.”

Both telcos, however, improved in terms of 4G availability. “Smart’s availability jumped 12 percentage points in the company’s measurements, while Globe’s availability increased more than 7 percentage points,” OpenSignal added. The availability measurement is a measure of how often users can access a 4G network, “rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage,” OpenSignal said.

For 4G latency, Smart had the lower latency measurement (57.57 milliseconds) than Globe (69.03 milliseconds), while the two telcos drew for 3G latency.

Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower latency score indicates a more responsive network.

OpenSignal said this latest test for the Philippines involved around 1.05 million measurements from 62,502 test devices during from May 1 to July 31.

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