Tech News: Smart still tops 4G coverage, video experience, and speeds in PH

Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has earned the inaugural 4G Coverage Experience Award from third-party mobile analytics firm Opensignal. The award serves as a measure of how mobile subscribers experience 4G coverage on any operator’s network in the country.

The award analyzed the locations where network users had received 4G signal relative to the locations visited by users of all local network operators. It means that Smart has dominated the competition in terms of 4G service availability within the covered period from July 1 to September 28, 2020. Over 1,186 million measurements from more than 336,000 devices were assessed—determining the state of 4G availability, video experience, and download/upload speeds.

“In simple terms, 4G Coverage Experience measures the mobile coverage experience in all the locations that matter most to everyday users—all the places where they live, work, and travel,” said Opensignal Senior Analyst Sam Fenwick. “It considers all the areas that Opensignal users visit, the portion of locations that 4G is available to them, and locations that more users visit have higher importance to them.”

Increasing 4G coverage

Opensignal indicated that Smart and its competitor have both made gains in terms of 4G availability. However, in the period, Smart has continued to widen its lead over its rival.

“We have been constantly improving our services by expanding our network to reach more customers, and we will continue to invest so that they can have the best wireless experience,” said PLDT-Smart Senior Vice President for Network Planning and Engineering Mario G. Tamayo.

According to Fenwick, Smart subscribers had access to 4G in more locations and for more of the time compared to the users of the competing network. “Our Smart 4G users saw the proportion of time they spent connected to 4G services rise by 3.5 percentage points, taking the operator above the 85% mark and increasing its lead over Globe,” he said.


Continuously improving speeds

Opensignal also noted that Smart has continued to dominate in speed and the mobile video experience. “Smart users have consistently had the fastest download speeds and the best mobile Video Experience in the Philippines,” Fenwick added, emphasizing that since Opensignal started analyzing Video Experience in a Philippines Mobile Network Experience Report in March 2019, Smart has already been winning every Video Experience award alongside their Download Speed Experience and Upload Speed Experience awards.

“Despite 2020’s challenges, our Smart users’ download speeds have risen by 8.1%. This is extremely impressive, given the challenges created by the Covid-10 pandemic,” Fenwick concluded.

Opensignal is also expecting the current 5G rollouts to further increase user speeds. In the third quarter of 2020, Smart rolled out 279 additional 5G base stations nationwide.