Masbad: The state of LTE

Roark L. Masbad

LAST month, OpenSignal released its latest report on the “The State of LTE.” The report is basically a compendium of data points from smartphones used by normal folks like you and me. The data is collected via the OpenSignal app, which is available for both iOS and Android. Once you have the app on your phone, "measurements are taken wherever users happen to be, whether indoors or out, in a city or in the countryside, representing performance the way users experience it.” Their methodology is thoroughly explained on their website.

READ: The State of LTE (February 2018)

Of course, what I’m particularly interested in are the figures on the Philippines. How did our domestic telcos perform collectively. Please remember though that before this February 2018 report, there was also another report released last year, November 2017. We have a point to compare our country to. This latest report covers a period of three months while that of the November 2017 report covers four months. Anyway, in terms of 4G availability, ours was at 58.83 percent from the November 2017 report. And that figure rose to 63.73 percent in the February 2018 report. This means that more and more Filipinos are able to access 4G networks because coverage is expanding. This is most likely because of the aggressive expansion of both Globe and Smart. They’ve been activating more and more 4G cell towers across the archipelago.

That’s a good thing. Or so I thought. When I checked the chart closer, we’re far behind our neighbors. Cambodia’s at 70.51 percent availability. Vietnam at 71.26 percent. Indonesia at 72.39 percent.

Although availability is good but if that’s paired with faster download speeds, it becomes a more useable tool for the users. Information can be accessed faster. Communication becomes better. Overall, it’s a better experience for everybody. In the November 2017 report, the Philippines’ average 4G download speed is at 8.24 Mbps. That went up to 9.49 Mbps in the February 2018 report. Keep in mind that these speed numbers are not based on a test on a website. There are all averaged out from real life users. Speed information is collected via the app installed on people’s smartphones.

And how do we stack up against our neighbors according to the speed chart? Cambodia’s at 13.90 Mbps. Vietnam’s at 21.49 Mbps. We beat Indonesia’s speed of 8.92 Mbps.

Among all the nations listed in the report, who’s the best in the game of 4G? It would have to be South Korea. Their numbers are impressive! Average speed at 40.44 Mbps with 97.49 percent availability. Check out this chart for "4G speed against 4G availability for all of the countries covered."

OpenSignal also has a report specific to the Philippines. It covered the period from May 1 to July 31, 2017.

And here’s the “Awards Table.”

And, finally, here are the “Performance by Metric” charts.

Keep in mind that these are figures from May to July 2017. Things could’ve already changed by this time. I’m eagerly waiting for the next report on the Philippines by OpenSignal.

When that new report comes out, I’ll make sure to share it with you here. Until then, I recommend that you download the OpenSignal app and help contribute data. The more data is gathered, the better the report becomes.