PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) is the country’s fastest 5G network in the Philippines for the first half of 2021, according to the latest report by Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analytics.
Smart has also reasserted its dominance as the Philippines’ fastest mobile network for the fourth year in a row, based on analysis by Ookla of tests taken with Speedtest covering the first half of 2021.
Smart won the Fastest Mobile Network Award with a Speed Score of 44.70, a big leap from previous year where Speed Score was at 24.99, based on 4,949,931 user-initiated tests taken with Speedtest in the Philippines for the period Q1-Q2 2021.
Meanwhile, in the newly released Fastest 5G Mobile Award report, Smart notched the top place in the country with a Speed Score of 204.81, posting median download and upload speeds of 220.66 Mbps and 20.61 Mbps, respectively based on 237,142 user-initiated 5G tests taken with Speedtest in the Philippines for the period Q1-Q2 2021.
Speedtest Award for top providers in speed are determined using a Speed Score that incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance. To determine Speedtest Awards winners for mobile networks, Ookla assesses the average of test results taken using Modern Chipsets. Modern Chipsets includes all mobile tests, regardless of connection technology used, as long as they are taken on devices that are identified as being capable of achieving the fastest speeds available in a market. After this filtering has taken place, Speed Score is applied as outlined above to determine the best speeds available in a country.
“Speedtest Awards, presented by Ookla, are reserved for an elite delegation of network operators that have delivered exceptional internet performance and coverage within a market,” said Doug Suttles, chief executive of Ookla. “It is our pleasure to present Smart with two awards for Fastest 5G Mobile Network and Fastest Mobile Network in the Philippines. This recognition is testament to their exceptional performance in Q1-Q2 2021 based on Ookla’s rigorous analysis of consumer-initiated tests taken with Speedtest.”
This level of performance has been enabled by Smart’s mobile network, including its 5G network, now fired up in more than 4,000 sites nationwide. Supporting Smart’s network is PLDT’s most extensive fiber infrastructure, now at over 511,000 kilometers as of June.
“Smart continues the drive to make the latest 5G technology available for more people in more areas. It is encouraging to see how these awards reflect actual customer experience, and are indicative of how our overall data service experience is progressively improving,” said Mario G. Tamayo, head of Technology at PLDT and Smart. “These measurements are just among the tools we use as we strive to deliver world-class experience to our customers nationwide, and elevate overall internet speeds in the Philippines.”
Fastest 5G network
Initial data included in Ookla’s country reports showed that Smart’s 5G speeds are way ahead in key areas nationwide like Manila, Cebu City, and Davao City, with Smart posting download and upload speeds that are faster compared to its nearest competitor in these areas.
In the City of Manila, for example, Smart’s 5G download speeds are at 268.01 Mbps, with the nearest competition at 81.82 Mbps.
In Cebu City, meanwhile, Smart registered 5G download speeds of 239.03 Mbps where competition is at 99.99 Mbps, while in Davao City, Smart notched 5G download speeds of 209.76 Mbps, whereas competition is at 145.18 Mbps.
All-out government support
According to the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), the government’s all-out support in expediting the release of LGU permits required for the ramped-up improvement of telco infrastructure has helped increase internet speeds in the country. As of July 27, 2021, PLDT and Smart have secured more than 25,000 fixed and wireless permits since the government fast-tracked approvals for telco firms last year.
These include the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA)’s issuance last year of the Joint Memorandum Circular fast-tracking the issuance of permits and the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)’s recently issued Department Order No. 29 (DO 29), which allows telecommunications companies to occupy a portion of the government Right of Way (ROW), subject to prescribed conditions. DO 29’s issuance also assists in ensuring the timely maintenance of PLDT’s fiber infrastructure as well as Smart’s cell sites.