PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

GLOBAL mobile download speeds in the Philippines increased to 15.1 megabits per second (Mbps) in the last quarter of 2021 from 7 Mbps in the first quarter of 2019, or before the adoption of the fifth generation (5G) network, according to UK mobile analytics company Opensignal Ltd.

Out of 100 global markets, the Philippines ranks 67and at the end of the fourth quarter of last year in terms of the impact of 5G on the mobile network experience, better than 73rd ranking in the first quarter of 2019.

The countries with the highest download speeds in the 5G era were South Korea (129.7 Mbps), Norway (78.1 Mbps), Netherlands (76.5 Mbps), Canada (64.1 Mbps) and Switzerland (62 Mbps).

The Philippines was followed by Indonesia and Peru in the rankings at 14.4 Mbps, Kazakhstan (13.9 Mbps), Chile (13.8 Mbps), Malaysia (13.5 Mbps), Colombia (13.1 Mbps) and India (13 Mbps).

The countries with the worst download speeds in the 5G era were Afghanistan (2.8 Mbps), Sudan (4.7 Mbps), Cameroon (6.1 Mbps) and Somalia (6.2 Mbps).

According to Opensignal, most of the countries that saw the biggest increase in average download speeds were “earlier or later” 5G markets.

The Philippines is among the top markets, where there was an increase of 8.2 Mbps between the first quarter of 2019 and the fourth quarter of 2021.

Globe Telecom, Inc. launched its 5G service in the Philippines in June 2019, while PLDT, Inc. launched its the following year.

Opensignal said, however, that the best 5G experience is yet to come.

“We expect speeds to increase significantly as more 5G spectrum becomes available, even in markets that already offer 5G,” he said.

“Responsiveness will improve with updated 5G technology. Networks will support many more devices simultaneously. Reliability needs to be improved,” he added.

Regarding the gaming experience, Opensignal said users in most markets have yet to feel the impact of 5G. But the Philippines ranked 66andwith 41.2 Mbps, at the end of 2021 in 100 global markets, a big jump of 86and at the beginning of 2020.

The countries with the best gaming experience were South Korea (88.5 Mbps), the Netherlands (85.5 Mbps), the Czech Republic (83.8 Mbps), and Denmark (79.9 Mbps).

Meanwhile, the countries with the worst gaming experience in the 5G era were Uganda (29.8 Mbps), Afghanistan and Zimbabwe (30.3 Mbps) and Madagascar (30.6 Mbps) .

“Current 5G networks based on the initial 5G standards do not significantly improve the mobile service characteristics that underpin an excellent real-time multiplayer gaming experience,” Opensignal said.

“Notably, an excellent gaming experience requires a combination of low latency, low packet loss, and low jitter, among other characteristics,” he added.

Opensignal noted that for now, most 5G services use early versions of 5G. “There are already several versions of 5G either in various stages of development or that have been finalized and will soon see large-scale commercial deployments.”

Meanwhile, in its “Global Mobile Network Experience Awards 2022″ report, a ranking of the world’s mobile network operators on the real user experience they provide, Opensignal saw Globe as a “global rising star” in terms of video experience, voice application experience, download speed experience, upload speed experience and fourth generation (4G) availability.

PLDT’s Smart Communications, Inc. was also a global rising star in video experience, game experience, voice application experience and download speed experience.

Opensignal said Globe users reported the second-highest percentage increase (6.6%) in 4G availability in the Asia-Pacific region between the second half of 2020 and the same period of 2021.

Meanwhile, Smart users saw the biggest percentage improvement in their gaming experience between the first six months of 2020 and the same period last year – a 42.9% increase, followed by Smartfren in Indonesia. (26.9%), from Jio in India (20.5%), and the GT from Taiwan (16.7%).

“Smart ranks third in the world in terms of percentage improvement in the voice application experience with a 19.4% increase ahead of Globe. However, Globe is also a global rising star in this category with a respectable increase of 8 .6%,” Opensignal noted.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund, owns a controlling interest in Business world through the Philippine Star Group, which he controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin