By Emmie V. Abadilla
PLDT Inc. and subsidiary, Smart Communications Inc. (Smart), are the country’s fastest fixed and mobile networks for 2018, according to Ookla, the global leader in internet testing and analysis.
In its latest report, which covers the last two quarters of 2018, Smart achieved a Speed Score TM of 15.57, with average download speeds of 17.86 Mbps and average upload speeds of 8.61 Mbps, based on 2,186,540 user-initiated tests taken with Speedtest® on LTE-capable devices in the Philippines.
On the other hand, PLDT achieved a Speed Score of 18.57, with top download speeds of 52.28 Mbps and top upload speeds of 55.95 Mbps.
The fixed network award is based on 27,221,777 customer-initiated Speedtest nationwide for the same period.
The Speed Score is a measure that takes into account both upload and download speeds. The latest figures are improvements from the first two quarters of 2018 scores, when Smart posted a Speed Score of 14.98 and PLDT achieved a speed score of 17.31.
“Our continued investments in our network to improve the mobile internet experience of our customers across the country are paying off,” noted Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT and Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.
Initial data included in Ookla’s country reports showed Smart still posting big leads in key cities like Quezon City, Makati and Manila, for example, while PLDT is still way ahead in Quezon City, Pasig and Manila.
For mobile, Speed Score incorporates a measure of each provider’s download and upload speed to rank network speed performance.
Tests used to calculate the Speed Score exclusively come from “modern devices,” which are devices capable of connecting to the market’s fastest, generally available technology.
For fixed, Ookla assesses the best 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 three percent of the sample size in the geographic area. The speed awards came as PLDT and Smart ramp up their integrated fixed and wireless network expansion.
PLDT has committed historic levels of resources to support network transformation which is estimated to amount to $5 billion from 2016 to 2020. In 2018, capital expenditures were at P58 billion.
Alongside Smart’s ramped-up LTE and LTE-Advanced roll out, PLDT is also aggressively rolling out its fiber broadband service, which also supports the stepped-up deployment of the mobile network by providing high-capacity links for cellular base stations.
To date, Smart has also already fulfilled its commitment to the National Telecommunications Commission to cover at least 90 percent of cities and municipalities to address the growing demand for broadband infrastructure and internet access within three years from the grant of the use of frequencies by the NTC in 2016.
Meanwhile, PLDT operates the country’s most extensive fiber infrastructure at 221,000 km and its fiber coverage has now reached 5.75 million homes as of end of the third quarter of 2018, while its total capacity of 2.25 million ports has more than doubled from end of 2017.