Globe and Smart have been ramping up their high-speed mobile data services in the Philippines since their first LTE networks came online in 2012. We felt it was high time to see how the two operators compared. Analyzing more than 500 million measurements, OpenSignal examined the typical experience our users saw not just on Smart and Globe's 4G networks but also on the 3G networks that are still critical to providing mobile data services in the Philippines.
Smart surpassed Globe in our LTE speed tests with an average download connection of 9.9 Mbps. We measured Globe 4G speeds at 7.4 Mbps.
While Smart may have had the edge in our 4G speed test, Globe was well ahead of its rival in our LTE availability rankings. Our testers were able to find a Globe LTE signal 55.3% of the time, while they latched onto Smart's LTE network only 40% of time.
We recorded draws between Globe and Smart in both our 3G speed and overall speed metrics. Both averaged 3G downloads just over 2 Mbps in our tests. While Smart won our LTE speed award, Globe's better 4G availability score brought its average overall mobile data connection in line with Smart's in our measurements.
Though LTE debuted in the Philippines in 2012, the country's 4G networks are still behind much of the world in performance. Both operators' speed scores fell well short of the global average of 17.4 Mbps, while roughly half of our mobile data speed tests failed to acquire an LTE signal.
|Download Speed: 4G||Download Speed: 3G||Download Speed: Overall||Latency: 4G||Latency: 3G||Availability: 4G|
This metric shows the proportion of time OpenSignal users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network. It's a measure of how often users can access a 4G network rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage.
This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users.
This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users.
This metric shows the average download speed experienced by OpenSignal users across all of an operator's 3G and 4G networks. Overall speed doesn't just factor in 3G and LTE speeds, but also the availability of each network technology. Operators with lower LTE availability tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.
This metric shows the average latency for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.
This metric shows the average latency for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.
For this report, OpenSignal drew on 512 million measurements taken by 28,972 smartphone users between Nov. 1, 2016, and Jan. 31, 2017, to compare the 3G and 4G experience of our users on the Globe and Smart networks. First let's start by examining how the operators fared in 4G.
LTE access currently is far from widespread in the Philippines, where our users were able to connect to a 4G network in roughly half our tests, but one operator did hold an advantage. Our users on Globe were able to find an LTE signal 55.3% of the time compared to 40% of the time for our Smart users. But whenever our testers were able to make a Smart 4G connection, they enjoyed a much faster experience. Smart averaged LTE download speeds of 9.9 Mbps in our tests, compared to 7.4 Mbps on Globe. Still, LTE speeds for both operators are relatively slow from a global perspective. In our last State of LTE report we measured the worldwide average LTE connection speed at 17.4 Mbps.
Given current limitations of the country's LTE networks, UMTS and HSPA networks remain important technologies in the Philippines. And in the case of 3G, both operators were evenly matched. Globe and Smart were statistically tied for 3G speed award with an HSPA download average of just over 2.1 Mbps. Combining 3G and 4G connections and accounting for the availability of each network, we calculated the typical mobile data speeds experienced by our users on each operator. The result was again a tie as both operators averaged around 3.3 Mbps in overall speed. Even though our users experienced faster 4G speeds on Smart, Globe's better 4G availability measurements allowed it to close the gap in overall speed.
The last metric we examined was latency, which is a measure of a connection's responsiveness. Networks with low latency perform better when near instantaneous reaction time is important, for instance when a user is making a two-way VoIP or video call. Smart had the lowest (best) latency in our 3G tests, averaging 157.2 milliseconds. But in our 4G latency tests, we had another draw with both operators averaging just under 56ms.
4G in the Philippines may not be able to match just yet the high-powered, far-reaching networks we're seeing in many countries in East Asia, but there's good news on the horizon for local LTE users. Both Smart and Globe have announced aggressive plans to expand their LTE footprints and capacity, building thousands of new cell sites and tapping new frequency bands.
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