The Philippines, like most of the world, is experiencing a sharp increase in the cost of living with inflation rising to 7.7% YoY in October 2022. In such times, consumers often cut back on luxuries and focus on the essentials. For mobile, this means some users may focus more on ensuring they have a good enough and consistent experience, rather than caring as much about having the fastest or the very best mobile experience.
With this in mind, we have analyzed Core Consistent Quality across 17 regions for the first time. Core Consistent Quality is the percentage of users' tests that met the minimum recommended performance thresholds for lower performance applications including standard definition (SD) video, voice calls and web browsing.
Starting in North and Central Luzon, Globe had the highest Core Consistent Quality score in Ilocos — 75.3% — beating its nearest rival DITO by 2.5 percentage points and Smart by 8.2 percentage points. In Cagayan Valley, our DITO and Globe users statistically tied for the highest score, leading those on Smart by around 8.2 percentage points. In contrast, DITO and Smart users reported the highest, statistically tied, scores in Central Luzon — 72.6-73.3 percentage points, around 1.2 percentage points ahead of their counterparts on Globe.
Shifting to Southern Luzon, there was a remarkably tight contest in Metro Manila. The three operators’ scores differed by less than half a percentage point, with DITO and Globe coming top with statistically tied scores of 82.6-82.9%. Globe had the highest score in Bicol, 73.5%, giving it a lead of 2.2 percentage points over DITO’s 71.3%. In Calabarzon, Smart lagged behind its rivals by around 3.3 percentage points.
As we move further south the competitive landscape shifts, with Smart tying with DITO in Central Visayas and being part of a three-way tie in Eastern Visayas. In Central Visayas, Globe lagged its rivals by around 4.1 percentage points. In Western Visayas, DITO users had the highest Core Consistent Quality score — 76.8%, or around five percentage points higher than Globe and Smart’s statistically tied scores of 71-72.5%.
Over in the Zamboanga Peninsula and Caraga, DITO beat Globe’s and Smart’s statistically tied scores by impressive margins — with leads of around 15.3 percentage points and approximately 11.7 percentage points, respectively. In Northern Mindanao, Globe trailed its rivals by around seven percentage points.
Turning to the most southern regions, DITO comes top in Soccsksargen, with a lead of around 7.1 percentage points. In Bangsamoro and Davao, DITO and Smart statistically tied for the highest score, beating Globe by around 10.2 percentage points and by approximately 13.9 percentage points, respectively.
Looking across all of the 17 analyzed regions — DITO comes first or joint first for Core Consistent Quality in 15 regions. Our DITO users reported the highest outright scores in four regions: Caraga, Soccsksargen, Western Visayas and the Zamboanga Peninsula. Globe comes top in Bicol and Ilocos and joint top in six others. While Smart was not the outright top scorer in any region, our Smart users tied for the highest Core Consistent Quality in eight regions, including Central Luzon.
One factor contributing to DITO’s strong performance is that the operator is still rolling out coverage and typically urban areas are served first before rural ones — where it is more challenging to provide users with good mobile service. In this analysis, we have used common coverage areas — and as a relative newcomer, DITO may not have the same coverage as Smart or Globe in some of the regions.
In addition, unlike its more established rivals, DITO does not operate 2G or 3G networks and therefore the lowest generation of mobile technology used by its subscribers is 4G. Similarly, DITO subscribers are not using some of the older handsets in the market. However, both Globe and Smart are moving in the same direction and away from 3G. Globe ended 3G sim sales in October 2020 and Smart plans to shut down its 3G network in 2023, having accelerated the migration of its customers from 2G or 3G to 4G or 5G-ready sims.
Given the rapidly changing market, Opensignal will continue to closely monitor and report on the experience of our users in the Philippines in 2023. We are working to include regional Core Consistent Quality analysis in future mobile network experience reports.
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