Philippines’ mobile market is no longer a duopoly, with improved 4G and 5G availability – Ookla

In the technologically advanced and social media-savvy Philippines, slow mobile internet speeds have long been a problem. However, according to a report by the internet analytics company Ookla, the disruption of the Philippine mobile market’s duopoly is to blame for the country’s increased 4G and 5G availability.

Ookla discovered that 4G Availability, or the percentage of users across all devices who spend the bulk of their time connected to 4G technology, increased to 84.8 percent in the first quarter of 2022 from 80.6 percent in the same period last year using data from Speedtest Intelligence.

Ookla evaluated how much time people spent using 4G technology, but the internet analytics company added that “operator’s network coverage is just one part of the story” and that other elements like compatible phones, SIMs, and prices are also crucial to take into account.

Ookla determined that among the three major telecom providers, China-backed DITO Telecommunity had the highest 4G availability in Q1 2022 with 91.2 percent, followed by seasoned telco providers Globe and Smart with 84.9 and 83.8 percent, respectively.

With 94.1 percent, Caloocan City outperformed all of the nation’s most populous cities in terms of the availability of 4G. It was followed by Quezon City (86.7 percent), Manila (88.2 percent), Davao City (73.5 percent), and Cebu City (69.7 percent).

In the research, it was said that “our analysis implies that DITO’s arrival combined with regulatory changes resulted in higher network investment and an overall improvement in 4G coverage and performance across all operators.”

The percentage of people with 5G-capable devices that spend the majority of their time on 5G networks, as determined by Ookla, has doubled in the past year. According to the survey, 5G availability increased from 9.4 percent in the same period last year to 18.1 percent in the first quarter of 2022.

According to the article, this is because the Department of Public Works and Highways has relaxed its Right of Way regulations, allowing for the development of vital infrastructure—particularly cell sites—along national highways.

According to Ookla, all three telco providers intended to increase their investment in 5G networks. In February 2022, Smart’s 5G base stations climbed to 7,300. In the first three months of 2022, Globe also added 390 new sites, while in March 2022, DITO started rolling out a 5G home Wi-Fi service prototype in 146 villages around Metro Manila.

No longer a duopoly 
In March 2021, DITO, a third telecom player, began operating commercially in Visayas and Mindanao, ending the duopoly in the mobile market in the Philippines.

The telco, which has the support of state-run China Telecommunications and businessman Dennis Uy from Davao, recently revealed that it has nearly nine million subscribers nationwide.

By the end of the year, the telco company hopes to have 12 million subscribers, according to Dito.

According to Ookla’s first quarter report for 2022, Globe continues to top the mobile market with 87.4 million customers, followed by Smart with 70.3 million users. As of March 15, 2022, the telecom company, which is funded by China, has a 1% market share. — Jan Cuyco, intern


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