By Emmie V. Abadilla
PLDT Inc. and wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) posted the fastest fixed and mobile data speeds in the country for the first half of 2019, according to Ookla, global leader in Internet testing and analysis.
PLDT achieved a Speed Score of 20.44, with top download speeds of 51.36 Mbps and top upload speeds of 54.22 Mbps, according to the report. This involved 25,169,867 customer-initiated Speedtest nationwide for the first semester.
On the other hand, Smart achieved a Speed Score of 17.07, with average download speeds of 19.33 Mbps and average upload speeds of 9.16 Mbps. The was based on 1,857,286 consumer-initiated tests taken with Speedtest® on LTE-capable devices in the Philippines.
Speed Score is a measure that takes into account both upload and download speeds.
The latest figures are higher compared with the third and fourth quarter 2018 scores, when Smart posted a Speed Score of 15.57 and PLDT achieved a speed score of 18.57.
PLDT and Smart claimed they have widened their leads over competitors in terms of Speed Scores.
From a gap of between 7.3 to 9.2 in the last two quarters of 2018, PLDT now leads over its competitors by 8.7 to 10. Smart, on the other hand, widened its lead from 5.5 to 7.
Initial data also showed PLDT posting big leads in key cities like Quezon City, Cebu City and Pasig, whereas Smart’s Speed Score more than double that of competition in Quezon City, Makati, and Manila.
In Pasig City, PLDT posted a Speed Score of 21.7, more than 9 points ahead of Globe Telecom Inc.’s 12.2, while PLDT’s 20.77 Speed Score in Cebu City is double that of Globe’s 10.46 Speed Score in the area.
Smart’s Speed Scores were consistently more than double that of Globe’s in Quezon City, Makati and Manila.
“Our network investments improved customer experience. They can now watch videos without buffering, update their social media accounts, or easily check their email and open attachments while on-the-go,” noted Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.
“Now that subscribers use more data and new customers are coming in, we have to ensure they get fast and reliable connection all the time. We continue to build and expand our fiber and LTE network to meet those needs,” he added.
For mobile, Speed Score incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance. Tests used to calculate the Speed Score exclusively come from devices capable of connecting to the market’s fastest, generally available technology.
For fixed, Ookla assesses the best network speeds attained across a given network, accounting for tests that are taken on various Speedtest applications that connect to a fixed network, including tests taken on mobile phones over a Wi-Fi connection. Each top carrier accounts for at least 3% of the sample size in the geographic area.
PLDT’s total fiber optic cable network footprint is now at over 259,000 kilometers, while its fiber-powered fixed line broadband network has now passed 6.7 million homes as of end-March.
Of LTE sites nationwide, 71% have already been upgraded to LTE-A, which means each cell site has multiple LTE base stations activated. In the first quarter of 2019 alone, Smart deployed an additional 1,700 LTE base stations across its sites nationwide, raising the LTE base station count to around 18,000 as of the first quarter.
Smart has also already fulfilled its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover at least 90 percent of the country’s cities and municipalities to address the growing demand for broadband infrastructure and internet access.
PLDT and Smart continue to expand their fixed and wireless network, earmarking P78.4 billion capital expenditure this year.