As the demand for data rises in the New Normal, the Philippines’ largest integrated telco PLDT and its wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) have once again emerged ahead of competition in the second half of 2020, according to Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis.
PLDT and Smart Communications have been named anew as the country’s fastest fixed and mobile internet networks based on analysis by Ookla of tests taken with Speedtest covering the second half of 2020.
Ookla reported that PLDT achieved a Speed Score of 27.28, with top download speeds of 79.48 Mbps and top upload speeds of 92.18 Mbps. The fixed network award is based on 74,788,737 customer-initiated tests taken with Speedtest for Q3-Q4 2020.
Meanwhile, Smart Communications posted a Speed Score of 24.99, with average download speeds of 20.08 Mbps and average upload speeds of 7.42 Mbps, based on 3,915,679 user-initiated tests taken with Speedtest in the Philippines for the period Q3-Q4 2020.
These scores are an improvement from the previous period, when PLDT posted a Speed Score of 24.79 and Smart posted a Speed Score of 18.33. Speed Score is a measure that takes into account both upload and download speeds.
“Over half a billion users rely on Speedtest to measure their internet performance every year. Ookla analyzes these test results to get an unparalleled view into mobile and fixed broadband metrics around the world. It is our pleasure to recognize PLDT and Smart as the Fastest Fixed and Mobile Networks in the Philippines based on our rigorous analysis. This award is a testament to PLDT and Smart’s exceptional performance, as experienced by their own customers, in Q3 and Q4,” said Doug Suttles, CEO at Ookla.
“These awards bear witness to the impact of the company’s sustained network investments over the past years, enabling us to provide our customers with the best data experience, despite the challenges of the pandemic,” said Mario G. Tamayo, Head of Technology at PLDT-Smart.
Fastest network in key areas
Initial data included in Ookla’s country reports showed that Smart is way ahead in key areas like Quezon City, Cebu City and Makati City, while PLDT is ahead in Quezon City, Cebu City and Cagayan de Oro City.
In Quezon City, Smart posted Download Speeds of 32.69 Mbps, double that of the competing network. This reflects the continuous network upgrade and expansion activities that Smart undertook in the city, including the deployment of LTE-Advanced and carrier aggregation.
For mobile, Speed Score incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance. Tests used to calculate Speed Score exclusively come from devices with ‘Modern Chipsets’, which are devices capable of connecting to the market’s fastest, generally available technology.
For fixed, Ookla assesses the fastest 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.
Investment in network transformation
To sustain this level of performance, PLDT and Smart are continuously investing in the expansion of their fixed and wireless networks across the country. PLDT recently announced that it was prepared to invest between Php 88 billion and Php 92 billion in capital expenditures this year.
Forming a large part of these expenditures are PLDT and Smart Communications nationwide expansion of their fixed and wireless networks to elevate the country’s telecommunications industry and deliver world-class services.
As of December 2020, PLDT’s fiber infrastructure, the most extensive in the country, comprised of more than 429,000 kilometers. This fiber infrastructure supports Smart’ Communications mobile networks, which now covers 96% of the population and is available in 95% of the country’s cities and municipalities.
Smart Communications increased the number of its base stations to over 59,000 at the end of 2020 and as well as rolled out additional 5G sites as it accelerates its 5G commercial services nationwide. The PLDT Group’s investments in capital expenditures totaled Php 260 billion from 2015 to 2019.