5G Experience Report Philippines October 2021

Philippines

5G Experience Report
October 2021

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
Sam Fenwick Senior Analyst

Key findings

Smart wins 5G Availability, but Globe and Smart are joint winners of the 5G Reach award.

Our Smart users spent the most time connected to 5G — 5G Availability — winning the award with a score of 11.9% and a lead of 3.6 percentage points. This means that our Smart users with a 5G smartphone and a 5G subscription spent 11.9% of their time with an active 5G connection. However, Globe and Smart are statistically tied for 5G Reach with scores of 3.5-3.7 points on a 10 point scale. 5G Reach is a measure of how mobile users experience the geographical extent of an operator’s 5G network. It analyzes the average proportion of locations where users were connected to a 5G network out of all the locations those users have visited.

Smart takes home the 5G Download Speed and 5G Upload Speed awards

Our Smart users saw the fastest average download and uploads when they had an active 5G connection. Smart scored an impressive 178.1 Mbps for 5G Download Speed, 78 Mbps faster than Globe’s score of 100.1 Mbps. Smart commanded a similarly remarkable lead on 5G Upload Speed as our Smart users reported average speeds of 18.4 Mbps when connected to 5G, or 7.8 Mbps (72.7%) faster than the speeds seen by our Globe users.

Smart users had the best 5G experience playing multiplayer mobile games

Smart is the outright winner of the 5G Games Experience award, with our Smart users recording a score of 71.9 points on a 100 point scale. As Globe scored 66 points, Smart led by 5.9 points (9%). However, both operators placed in the Fair (65-75) category. A Fair 5G Games Experience means that our users found the experience ‘average’. In most cases the game was responsive to the actions of the player with most users reporting that they felt like they had control over the game. The majority of players reported that they noticed a delay between their actions and the outcomes in the game.

Smart wins the 5G Video Experience award

When it comes to streaming video over an active 5G connection, our Smart users had the best experience. The operator wins outright with a score of 77.9 points on a 100 point scale. As Globe scored 75.7 points, Smart led by 2.1 points, but both operators have placed in the Excellent (75 or above) category. This indicates a very consistent experience across all users, video streaming providers and resolutions tested, with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling.

Smart and Globe tie on 5G Voice App Experience

Our users in the Philippines did not see a statistically significant difference in their experience when using over-the-top voice apps between Globe and Smart’s 5G networks. The operators’ scores (79.2-80.5 points) are on the border between the Acceptable (74-80) and Good (80-87) categories.

Introduction

This is our first 5G experience report for the Philippines. As DITO — the country’s new third operator — has yet to launch 5G commercial services, only the experience of our Smart and Globe users when they had an active 5G connection contributed to this 5G report. As with our companion report — which analyzes the overall experience of all our Filipino users across all generations of mobile technology — Smart dominates the award table in this 5G Experience report.

Smart wins five out of seven categories outright: 5G Availability, both of our speed awards (5G Download Speed and 5G Upload Speed), along with two out of three of our experiential awards (5G Video Experience and 5G Games Experience). In addition, Smart statistically ties with Globe in two categories, so both operators are joint winners of the 5G Reach and 5G Voice App Experience awards.

Smart led Globe by some impressive margins when we compared our users’ 5G experience on both operators: 78 Mbps (78%) on 5G Download Speed, 7.8 Mbps (72.7%) on 5G Upload Speed, 3.6 percentage points on 5G Availability (almost 1.5 times more) and 5.9 points (9%) on 5G Games Experience. However, there was less of a gap between the two operators’ scores on 5G Video Experience with Smart winning by just 2.1 points.

5G take-up in the Philippines has been growing rapidly, but remains a small fraction of the total user base. For example, Globe claimed to have 860,000 5G customers in July out of a total subscriber base of 81.75 million, while Smart said it had 520,000 5G users at the end of June, growing to 800,000 5G users in October.

The speed of 5G adoption is not surprising, given that it is now rare for new mid or high tier smartphone models not to support 5G. The days when 5G was a feature present only in a few flagship devices is in the past. In addition, 5G offers users in the Philippines a much enhanced mobile experience. This can be seen in our recent 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards 2021 report, where both Globe and Smart placed in the top 30 for all four measures of 5G Global Impact. 5G Global Impact analyzes the percentage improvement in the download speeds, upload speeds, games experience and video experience observed by Opensignal’s users on an operator’s 5G network compared to that seen on its 4G network.

Both Globe and Smart have been working to introduce 5G standalone access (SA) technology, which runs off a core network built for 5G and does not require a user to connect to 4G as well, which is required in the case of 5G non-standalone access (NSA). SA is also a key enabler for many other aspects of 5G, including Ultra-Reliable Low-Latency Communication (URLLC) and network slicing. Smart switched on its SA network in Makati City in October, while Globe said in late September that it was performing live tests with a SA setup at its facility in the same city. Globe began on-site SA testing in May this year.

In this report, we've analyzed the 5G experience of the Philippines' two established national operators — Globe and Smart — in the 90 days starting July 1, 2021 and ending September 28, 2021. We have also published a companion report which looks at the overall mobile experience of our Filipino users, including those on the Philippines’ new operator, DITO for the first time.

Opensignal Awards Table

5G Mobile Experience Awards, Philippines
October 2021, Philippines Report
5G Availability
5G Reach
5G Video Experience
5G Games Experience
5G Voice App Experience
5G Download Speed
5G Upload Speed
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Mobile Experience Awards Winners
October 2021, Philippines
5G Availability
5G Video Experience
5G Games Experience
5G Download Speed
5G Upload Speed
Mobile Experience Awards Draws
October 2021, Philippines
5G Reach
5G Voice App Experience
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Overview

Click on metric labels below for a quick preview
5G Availability
in %
Globe
8.4
Smart
11.9
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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National Analysis

5G Availability

Smart is the outright winner of the 5G Availability award, winning with a score of 11.9% and a lead of 3.6 percentage points. This means that our Smart users with a 5G smartphone and a 5G subscription spent 11.9% of their time with an active 5G connection. 5G Availability is a crucial measure as the more time that users spend connected to 5G, the more they will benefit from the enhanced mobile experience that 5G provides over 4G. As a result 5G Availability has an important role in determining the overall scores of our 5G users across all generations of mobile technology — see our companion report for more details.

5G Availability
in %
Globe
8.4
Smart
11.9
0 3.75 7.5 11.25 15
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Reach

Globe and Smart are statistically tied for 5G Reach with scores of 3.5-3.7 points on a 10 point scale. 5G Reach is a measure of how mobile users experience the geographical extent of an operator’s 5G network. It analyzes the average proportion of locations where users were connected to a 5G network out of all the locations those users have visited. This means that Globe and Smart 5G users with a 5G subscription were connected to 5G in more than a third of the locations they visited.

5G Reach
in 0-10 points
Globe
3.5
Smart
3.7
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Video Experience

Smart is the outright winner of the 5G Video Experience award, as our users on its 5G network had the best experience while streaming mobile video. Smart wins with a score of 77.9 points on a 100 point scale. As Globe scored 75.7 points, Smart led by 2.1 points, but both operators have placed in the Excellent (75 or above) category. This indicates a very consistent experience across all users, video streaming providers and resolutions tested, with fast loading times and almost non-existent stalling.

The video experience enjoyed by our Smart users on 5G connections was recently recognised in our 5G Global Mobile Network Experience Awards 2021 report, as the operator featured as a 5G Global Leader for 5G Video Experience.

5G Video Experience
in 0-100 points
Globe
75.7
Smart
77.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Opensignal’s 5G Video Experience quantifies the quality of video streamed to mobile devices by measuring real-world video streams over an operator's 5G network. The metric is derived from an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) approach, built upon detailed studies which have derived a relationship between technical parameters, including picture quality, video loading time and stall rate, with the perceived video experience as reported by real people.

To calculate 5G Video Experience, we are directly measuring video streams from end-user devices and using this ITU approach to quantify the video experience for each operator on a scale from 0 to 100. The videos tested include a mixture of resolutions and are streamed directly from the world’s largest video content providers.

5G Games Experience

Smart is the outright winner of the 5G Games Experience award, with a score of 71.9 points on a 100 point scale. As Globe scored 66 points, Smart led by 5.9 points (9%). However, both operators placed in the Fair (65-75) category. A Fair 5G Games Experience means that our users found the experience ‘average’. In most cases the game was responsive to the actions of the player with most users reporting that they felt like they had control over the game. The majority of players reported that they noticed a delay between their actions and the outcomes in the game.

5G Games Experience
in 0-100 points
Globe
66.0
Smart
71.9
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Games Experience is a measure of how mobile users experience real-time multiplayer mobile gaming on an operator’s 5G network. Measured on a scale of 0-100, it analyzes how the multiplayer mobile gaming experience is affected by mobile network conditions including latency, packet loss and jitter to determine the impact on gameplay and the multiplayer gaming experience.

5G Voice App Experience

Globe and Smart are joint winners of the 5G Voice App Experience award. This is because our users in the Philippines did not see a statistically significant difference in their experience when using over-the-top voice apps between Globe and Smart’s 5G networks. The operators’ scores — 79.2-80.5 points on a 100 point scale — are on the borderline between the Acceptable (74-80) and Good (80-87) categories.

5G Voice App Experience
in 0-100 points
Globe
79.2
Smart
80.5
0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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Opensignal's 5G Voice App Experience measures the quality of experience for over-the-top (OTT) voice services — mobile voice apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook Messenger etc. — on an operator’s 5G network using an International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-based approach for quantifying overall voice call quality and a series of calibrated technical parameters. This model characterizes the exact relationship between the technical measurements and perceived call quality. 5G Voice App Experience for each operator is calculated on a scale from 0 to 100.

5G Download Speed

Smart is the first Filipino operator to win our 5G Download Speed award. Smart scored an impressive 178.1 Mbps, 78 Mbps faster than Globe’s score of 100.1 Mbps. This means that our Smart users saw the fastest average download speeds when they had an active 5G connection.

5G Download Speed
in Mbps
Globe
100.1
Smart
178.1
0 45 90 135 180
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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5G Upload Speed

Smart is the outright winner of the 5G Upload Speed award, as our users on its network observed average upload speeds of 18.4 Mbps when they had an active 5G connection. This was 7.8 Mbps (72.7%) faster than the 5G upload speeds seen by our Globe users.

5G Upload Speed
in Mbps
Globe
10.7
Smart
18.4
0 5 10 15 20
The brackets represent confidence intervals.
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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.

Why confidence intervals are vital in analyzing mobile network experience

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