PLDT, Smart support first gov’t eSports tournament

Published June 17, 2019, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) are supporting the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT)’s celebration of National ICT Month this June by providing high-speed connectivity support for its events.

Among the highlights of this celebration is the first-ever national government-organized Mobile Legends tournament, which is open to all national government and LGU employees.

“As the country’s leading digital enablers, we are happy to support the DICT in marking National ICT Month, especially in advancing the country’s rapidly growing and highly competitive esports programs,” said PLDT-Smart chair and CEO Manuel V. Pangilinan.

Promoting esports in PH

PLDT and Smart have been active in promoting mobile games in the Philippines, including organizing their official professional esports team “Omega,” which was among the inaugural teams competing in The Nationals, the country’s first franchise-based esports league.

The following month, Smart backed the current season of Mobile Legends: Bang Bang Professional League Philippines. As a result, the number of monthly unique users of the popular mobile game increased by five times between June 2018 and March 2019.

The hugely popular multiplayer online battle arena game is the first esports title that will be included in the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games to be held in the country. This is also the first time that esports will be a medal sport in a regional sporting event accredited by the International Olympic Committee.

Best network for gaming

Last year, PLDT and Smart were recognized by Ookla as the fastest fixed and mobile networks in the Philippines.

Smart has also consistently topped OpenSignal’s Mobile Experience Awards since 2017. In OpenSignal’s latest Mobile Network Experience report for the Philippines, which came out in March, Smart won in four categories—Video Experience, Download Speed and Upload Speed Experience and Latency Experience, a metric important for optimal mobile gaming experience.

Meanwhile, Canada-based mobile data company Tutela, in a recent study on the State of Mobile Networks in Southeast Asia, said that Smart users were twice as likely to experience ‘excellent’ data connections, which are needed for heavy data uses like video viewing, whereas Germany-based global benchmark leader P3 also cited Smart for offering the country’s best download speeds.

To date, Smart has 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.

Growth driver

Customers’ growing appetite for online video and mobile games were also the main drivers of the record revenue growth seen by PLDT’s resurgent mobile business in the first quarter of 2019, with data and broadband revenues now accounting for 65% of the individual wireless business’s revenues.

About two-thirds of Smart, Sun and TNT subscribers are smartphone owners, of whom about 70% are data users. Due to their increased data usage, mobile data traffic also rose by 127% year-on-year to 304 petabytes.

Aside from mobile gaming, these data-savvy customers are also watching more and more video on their smartphones. With the introduction of the Video Every Day data packages late last year, more customers have been accessing various video services like YouTube, NBA, iWant and iFlix.

To support Filipinos’ increasing appetite for data, PLDT and Smart are continuously expanding and modernizing their fixed and mobile networks, backed by a historic-high capital expenditure of P78.4 billion this year. The capex investments are to further expand coverage and to increase capacity to handle the exponential growth in data traffic. The ultimate aim is to deliver the best data customer experience.

Underpinning this performance is PLDT’s extensive fiber optic transmission and distribution network, now at 259,000 kilometers. This fiber network also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links for its base stations.