Smart scored 91% in terms of ‘basic’ consistent quality, slightly ahead of competition’s 89.3%.
PLDT wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) leads in network ‘consistent quality’ in the Philippines, according to Canadian crowd-sourced mobile data company Tutela, using a metric called ‘consistent quality score’ which tracks the percentage of time users can experience either ‘excellent’ or ‘basic’ quality connections in a country or in a specific network.
In its report, “Southeast Asia State of Mobile Networks February 2019
”, Tutela said that Smart scored 91% in terms of ‘basic’ consistent quality, slightly ahead of competition’s 89.3%. This means that 91% of the time, Smart users were able to access a ‘basic’ connection, which supports simple web browsing, emails, and simple applications like Facebook and WhatsApp.
The big difference was in the “excellent” category.
According to the report, Smart had a consistent quality score of 48.8% in the ‘excellent’ category, more than double that of the competition’s score of 23.8%. This means that Smart users in the country were twice as likely to experience the ‘excellent’ standard, which is needed for the more demanding mobile use cases, like HD video calling or 1080p video streaming.
In this category, Smart ranked 6th out of the total 15 operators included in the study which covered Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Thailand and included 85 billion mobile network measurements collected between Dec. 1, 2018 and Jan. 9, 2019.
“Smart has a small lead over Globe when it comes to basic quality, but excellent quality is where it really differentiates its network,” Tutela said in its report.
“Our continuing network upgrades across the country are aimed to address our customers' ever-growing need for high quality mobile internet services,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering. “Today, our customers are increasingly using high-bandwidth services such as video streaming aside from social media, online shopping and mobile banking.”
According to recent studies, Filipinos spend the most number of hours online per day at a little over 10 hours, well above the worldwide average of 6 hours, 42 minutes. Moreover, Filipinos are viewing more video online, even more than video on broadcast.
On the country level, the Philippines posted a ‘basic’ consistent quality score of 90%, whereas its neighbors Thailand scored 92.5%, Malaysia 92.3%, and Indonesia, 88.1%. In terms of ‘excellent’ consistent quality score, Malaysia is on top with 56.9%, followed by Thailand (45.3%), Indonesia (40.1%) and the Philippines (33.3%).
In terms of combined download speeds for 3G and 4G, Smart is at the upper half of the rankings, placing 5th out of the 15 carriers with an average download speed of 9.5 Mbps, above the Philippines’ average download speed of 8.1 Mbps.
Tutela, which has offices in Victoria, British Columbia and London, England, aggregates performance and usage data from over 250 million mobile devices across the globe by running in the background of over 3,000 third party mobile applications where the user has agreed to provide data.
These results are consistent with findings of other third-party studies, which have cited both PLDT and Smart for being the country’s fastest networks. Last year, PLDT and Smart were cited for being the country’s fastest fixed and mobile networks for Q1-Q2 2018
, respectively, by Ookla®, the global leader in internet testing and analysis. Mobile analytics firm OpenSignal has also consistently cited Smart for having the country’s fastest LTE network for its past four study rounds.
To date, Smart has also already fulfilled its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover at least 90 percent of cities and municipalities to address the growing demand for broadband infrastructure and internet access within three years from the grant of the use of frequencies by the NTC in 2016.
In the first nine months of 2018, Smart increased its total LTE base station count across the country by 65%. These LTE base stations are, in turn, supported by PLDT’s fiber optic transmission and distribution network, the country’s most extensive fiber network at 221,000 kilometers, which provides high-capacity fiber connections for Smart’s mobile network.
Parent company PLDT has committed historic levels of resources for network transformation. For 2018, PLDT capex was expected to reach P58 billion.