PLDT’s Smart network development is enabled by record permits, resulting in faster internet speeds in the Philippines

On the strength of the continued expansion of their fixed and wireless networks, PLDT and its wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) expanded their lead in the Philippines’ battle to improve internet speeds.

Since the government expedited telco licenses last year, PLDT and Smart have acquired roughly 22,000 fixed and wireless licenses as of June 22, 2021. This, combined with the company’s determination to build despite the hazards posed by the pandemic, has allowed PLDT and Smart to improve customer service.

Between May 2020 and May 2021, according to Ooklastudy ®’s of Speedtest Intelligence® data, Smart’s average mobile download speeds nearly tripled from 16.60 Mbps to 47.30 Mbps, while PLDT’s average fixed download speeds more than doubled from 27.44 Mbps to 67.91 Mbps.

According to Ookla’s latest Speedtest Global Index, the Philippines’ average mobile download speeds were 31.98 Mbps, while average fixed broadband speeds were 59.73 Mbps. The current rankings, which put the country at 77th and 65th, respectively, are significant improvements above the April 2021 standings (7 places and 15 places up, respectively).

“Our commitment to expanding our wireless and fiber presence reinforces our position as the country’s sole integrated telecom. Our continued fiber expansion improves home speed, while 5G continues to improve the cellular experience. We are leading the charge and will never stop developing to assist raise the Philippines’ overall rates and propel the country to new heights, “PLDT Inc. and Smart Communications President and CEO Alfredo S. Panlilio remarked.

“The significant improvement in ranking in recent months is primarily due to the Duterte government’s all-out support in expediting the release of LGU permits required for the fast-tracking of telco infrastructure improvement,” the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) said, adding that speeds are expected to increase as the government looks to speed up the rollout of telecommunication companies.

The Anti-Red Tape Authority’s (ARTA) issuance of the Joint Memorandum Circular last year, which expedited the issuance of permits, and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) recently issued Department Order No. 29 (DO 29), which allows telecommunications companies to occupy a portion of the government Right of Way, are two government initiatives that have helped speed up the telco rollout (ROW). The DO 29 also helps to ensure that PLDT’s fiber infrastructure and Smart’s cell sites are maintained on a timely basis.

PLDT’s fiber infrastructure covered over 478,000 kilometers across the country as of the end of March. This helps Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity connections to its 63,000 base stations. From Batanes to Tawi-Tawi, Smart covers 96 percent of the population.

Third-party analytics businesses like Ookla and Opensignal have praised PLDT and Smart for their efforts to improve the country’s internet speeds.

Based on customer-initiated Speedtest tests for Q3-Q4 2020, Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis, rated PLDT and Smart as the country’s fastest fixed and mobile data networks in the second half of 2020. Smart has also been named the country’s fastest mobile data network for the past three years by Ookla.

Smart, on the other hand, recently won a rare sweep in the April 2021 Philippines Mobile Network Experience Awards*, outperforming the competition across all parameters in three key areas of service: coverage (4G coverage experience, 4G availability), speed (download and upload speed), and experience (Games, Video and Voice App). This is the first time a Philippine operator has won all three categories.

Smart also got the top award from umlaut, the worldwide benchmarking business formerly known as P3, an international internet testing organization. Despite the constraints of the pandemic and more stringent benchmarking requirements, Smart achieved the ‘Best in Test’ award for offering the best-rated internet coverage, user download experience, and latency experience.

These projects account for a significant portion of PLDT’s capital expenditures, totaling P460.8 billion during the last ten years. PLDT and Smart plan to invest between P88 billion and P92 billion in capital expenditures in 2021 to meet the growing data needs of its fixed and wireless subscribers.

Source: Smart Newsroom

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