Mobile Network Experience Report Philippines March 2019

Philippines

Mobile Network Experience Report
March 2019

Opensignal Active Userbase in Philippines
Total Devices
270,433
Total Measurements
933,210,079
Data Collection Period
Nov 01 Jan 29, 2019

Opensignal is the independent global standard for analyzing consumer mobile experience. Our industry reports are the definitive guide to understanding the true experience consumers receive on wireless networks.

Author
Kevin Fitchard Principal Analyst

Summary

The future of the consumer mobile experience in the Philippines looks positive. Though mobile broadband speeds have traditionally been slow and access to 4G services limited in the country, Opensignal has tracked improvements in both areas in our most recent data. 4G Availability has increased dramatically for both major operators in the last two years, as Globe and Smart users can now find an LTE connection more than 70% of the time. Meanwhile, growth in download speeds has been slower, but it is nonetheless improving, driven by the Philippines' greater 4G reach.

Smart's gains were particularly impressive. It won four of Opensignal's awards outright and tied with Globe for the fifth. It's already established considerable distance from Globe in our Download Speed, Upload Speed and Video Experience metrics, and it's now threatening to surpass Globe in 4G Availability. The timing of Smart's new network enhancements likely isn't mere coincidence. The Mislatel consortium is set to launch the Philippines' third national mobile operator, putting competitive pressure on both Globe and Smart. In the coming months we would expect to see both operators shore up their mobile broadband services in anticipation of Mislatel's launch.

Mobile Experience Awards March 2019, Philippines Report
4G Availability
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
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Mobile Experience Awards Winners
March 2019, Philippines
Video Experience
Download Speed Experience
Upload Speed Experience
Latency Experience
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
March 2019, Philippines
4G Availability
Download Image

Key findings

Globe and Smart are now locked in a draw over 4G Availability

Globe has long had the edge over Smart in LTE reach, but in our latest test period we saw Smart surge forward in our 4G Availability metric, resulting in a statistical tie between the two operators. The level of access to 4G services in the Philippines has increased dramatically in the last two years. In Opensignal's March 2017 report, neither Globe nor Smart had a 4G Availability score higher than 55%. Now both operators are above the 70% mark in our analysis.

Smart has established a big lead in Video Experience

One of the starkest contrasts in our analysis was the difference in Video Experience offered by the two nationwide operators. Smart landed in a category above in our Video Experience scale earning a Fair rating compared to Globe's Poor rating. Smart users are clearly enjoying better overall video quality, with faster loading times and fewer interruptions during playback, according to our analysis.

Download Speed Experience in the Philippines is improving

We see steady gains in mobile broadband download speeds in the Philippines as 4G Availability improves, which makes faster LTE connections more accessible, more often. Globe's overall download speeds improved only incrementally in our measurements, but Smart enjoyed a sizable bump 1.5 Mbps in its Download Speed Experience score, bringing it to 9 Mbps.

4G Availability in the largest cities surpasses 80%

While 4G Availability is at an all time high nationwide, we see even more impressive scores in the Philippines' three largest cities. In Manila and Davao both operators had 4G Availability scores in excess of 80%, while in Cebu, Smart had the highest individual 4G Availability score in the three markets at 84.1%.

National Analysis

4G Availability

Smart's lengthy struggle to catch up with Globe in 4G reach is over. In our most recent test period, Smart closed the already-dwindling gap between itself and Globe in our 4G Availability metric, producing a two-way tie for our award in the category. Smart's progress in just six months is impressive. Its 4G Availability grew by nearly 7 percentage points, which is a good indication of new network expansion. Globe, however, wasn't sitting still. Its 4G Availability also increased significantly in our measurements, but Globe's 4 percentage points of growth weren't enough to hold off Smart's resurgence.

4G Availability
in %
Globe
71.7
Smart
70.8
0 18.75 37.5 56.25 75
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Both operators now have 4G Availability scores greater than 70% in our analysis, which is a marked improvement in their level of LTE access. In our March 2017 report, Globe's 4G Availability score was 55.3% while Smart's was a lowly 40%. The rapid rise in their scores in just two years shows that their LTE services are maturing as more consumers have access to 4G services more often.

Video Experience

Video Experience in the Philippines is definitely in need of improvement. In our recent State of Mobile Video report, the Philippines had the lowest overall Video Experience score on the 69 countries we analyzed. That indicates mobile video quality in the Philippines is Poor, suffering from long load times and frequent stalling even at low resolutions. But within the Philippines there was a clear distinction between the two national operators in our Video Experience measurements.

Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Globe
28.4
Smart
44.4
0 11.25 22.5 33.75 45
Download Image
Video Experience
Supporting Metrics
in 0-100 points
4G Video Experience
34.9 (± 0.66) 56.6 (± 0.71)
3G Video Experience
18.7 (± 0.98) 27.3 (± 1.48)
Mobile Network Experience Report | March 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Video Experience in 0-100 points
35 (± 0.66)
57 (± 0.71)
3G Video Experience in 0-100 points
19 (± 0.98)
27 (± 1.48)
Mobile Network Experience Report | March 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Globe garnered a Video Experience score of 28.4 (out of 100), putting it in line with the Philippines overall Poor rating (0-40), but Smart's score of 44.4 elevated the operator into the Fair range (40-55), meaning video experienced shorter load times and fewer playback interruptions, especially at lower resolutions. Smart still needs to gain a lot of ground before it earns a Good or Very Good rating, but it's clearly delivering a much better Video Experience than its rival, according to our analysis.

Download Speed Experience

Mobile broadband speeds are improving in the Philippines, though average connections are still well below most of the developed world. In the last six months, we have measured a big jump in Smart's Download Speed Experience score, rising from 7.5 Mbps to 9 Mbps. Globe's increase in this metric was smaller, from 5 Mbps to 5.5 Mbps, but the general trend in download speed is encouraging. As with our other speed metrics, though, Smart clearly has the upper hand in Download Speed Experience, and it's continuing to widen the gap with Globe in our measurements.

Download Speed Experience
in Mbps
Globe
5.5
Smart
9.0
0 2.5 5 7.5 10
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Download Speed
7.5 (± 0.10) 13.6 (± 0.22)
3G Download Speed
2.4 (± 0.04) 2.6 (± 0.07)
Mobile Network Experience Report | March 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Download Speed in Mbps
8 (± 0.10)
14 (± 0.22)
3G Download Speed in Mbps
2 (± 0.04)
3 (± 0.07)
Mobile Network Experience Report | March 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

When we look at the breakdown of speed by technology, we see that the big boost in Download Speed Experience isn't the result of more powerful network connections. 4G Download Speeds for both operators have remained relatively unchanged. Rather, Globe and Smart's improved 4G Availability is causing overall download speeds to rise. While the speed of 4G connections may not have changed, our users on Filipino networks are finding those connections more often.

Upload Speed Experience

Often overlooked, latency is an increasingly important measure of a network's capabilities, affecting the user experience in many subtle ways. The lower the Latency Experience score on a network, the better the experience on a host of mobile applications and services, from web browsing to voice-over-IP to real-time multiplayer gaming.

Upload Speed Experience
in Mbps
Globe
1.7
Smart
3.2
0 1.25 2.5 3.75 5
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
Supporting Metrics
in Mbps
4G Upload Speed
2.7 (± 0.05) 5.0 (± 0.09)
3G Upload Speed
0.3 (± 0.01) 0.6 (± 0.02)
Mobile Network Experience Report | March 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Upload Speed in Mbps
3 (± 0.05)
5 (± 0.09)
3G Upload Speed in Mbps
0 (± 0.01)
1 (± 0.02)
Mobile Network Experience Report | March 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Latency Experience

Often overlooked, latency is an increasingly important measure of a network's capabilities, affecting the user experience in many subtle ways. The lower the Latency Experience score on a network, the better the experience on a host of mobile applications and services, from web browsing to voice-over-IP to real-time multiplayer gaming.

Latency Experience
in ms
Globe
74.6
Smart
69.4
0 18.75 37.5 56.25 75
Download Image
Latency Experience
Supporting Metrics
in ms
4G Latency
58.2 (± 0.45) 53.6 (± 0.66)
3G Latency
99.2 (± 1.51) 91.5 (± 1.72)
Mobile Network Experience Report | March 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.
4G Latency in ms
58 (± 0.45)
54 (± 0.66)
3G Latency in ms
99 (± 1.51)
91 (± 1.72)
Mobile Network Experience Report | March 2019 | © Opensignal Inc.

Smart won our Latency Experience award with an average response time of 69.4 milliseconds across its 3G and 4G networks, though Globe wasn't far behind with a Latency Experience score of 74.6 milliseconds.

Regional Analysis

In our analysis of the Philippines' three largest cities, we found that the increasing 4G Availability we're tracking in the country as a whole is amplified in urban areas. In Cebu, Davao and Manila all three operators had 4G Availability scores at least 10 percentage points higher than their national averages. In Manila and Davao, both operators were able to provide an LTE signal to our users more than 80% of the time, and in Cebu we measured the highest individual 4G Availability score on Smart's network at 84.1%.

In speed, our regional results varied considerably from national averages. In Cebu and Davao, Smart's Download Experience scores were much lower than its national averages, while Globe's overall download averages were more consistent with its national score. But in Manila we're starting to see signs of network upgrades that are boosting both operators' metrics across the board. Compared to the national averages, Globe and Smart's Download and Upload Experience scores were notably higher in the capital, Latency Experience for both operators was better and the two earned much higher video experience ratings.

Select any region below to display individual breakdown

Cebu

4G Availability
in Cebu
in %
Globe
79.6
Smart
84.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in Cebu
in 0-100 points
Globe
30.3
Smart
48.0
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Cebu
in Mbps
Globe
5.2
Smart
6.8
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Cebu
in Mbps
Globe
1.9
Smart
3.5
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Cebu
in ms
Globe
73.9
Smart
59.7
Download Image

Davao

4G Availability
in Davao
in %
Globe
80.8
Smart
80.5
Download Image
Video Experience
in Davao
in 0-100 points
Globe
31.7
Smart
49.5
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Davao
in Mbps
Globe
5.4
Smart
7.1
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Davao
in Mbps
Globe
2.2
Smart
3.6
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Davao
in ms
Globe
81.0
Smart
81.2
Download Image

Manila

4G Availability
in Manila
in %
Globe
83.1
Smart
83.1
Download Image
Video Experience
in Manila
in 0-100 points
Globe
35.2
Smart
55.4
Download Image
Download Speed Experience
in Manila
in Mbps
Globe
7.6
Smart
15.2
Download Image
Upload Speed Experience
in Manila
in Mbps
Globe
2.4
Smart
4.8
Download Image
Latency Experience
in Manila
in ms
Globe
57.7
Smart
50.0
Download Image
Learn more

Opensignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks in the places they live, work and travel.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the true experience of smartphone users. Therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only.

For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars. In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

More about Methodology

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For every metric we calculate statistical confidence intervals indicated on our graphs. When confidence intervals overlap, our measured results are too close to declare a winner. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

In our bar graphs we represent confidence intervals as boundaries on either sides of graph bars.

In our supporting-metric charts we show confidence intervals as +/- numerical values.

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