Despite challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the country’s internet speed continues to improve based on Ookla findings for December 2020.
With close to 120 million tests conducted in the Philippines in 2020, Ookla reported a 297.47% improvement on the country’s internet average download speed for fixed broadband and 202.41% for mobile broadband, compared to 2016 speeds. The country’s average download speed for fixed broadband improved from 7.91Mbps (July 2016) to 31.44Mbps (December 2020), while average download speed for mobile broadband also improved from 7.44Mbps (July 2016) to 22.50Mbps (December 2020).
The improvement in internet speeds comes after telcos reported a 500% increase in data usage at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintenance work and upgrade on cellular sites also proved to be difficult due to the various lockdowns imposed in the country.
With LGUs and the DILG extending their full cooperation in expediting permits related to building cellular towers, connectivity and internet service are expected to improve further.
The improvement in speed also comes at a time when the country was hit by several devastating typhoons in 2020 that affected major parts of the country.
DICT’s common tower policy also aims to immediately address the improvement of telecom services across the country.
Globe said that it has finalized partnerships with eleven tower companies, while Smart signified that it has already agreements with nine tower companies. New telco player, DITO, has also sealed agreements with three tower companies.
DITO says that the number of towers it has completed to date, on top of the number of towers being constructed by independent tower contractors, is sufficient to serve the 37% population coverage which the telco committed for its first audit this month.
Building additional towers is seen to be essential in drastically increasing internet speeds to enable the country to be more competitive globally. 2021 will definitely see the proliferation of more cell sites that promises to give the country faster internet speeds.
DITO’s launch commercially on March 2021 have prompted incumbents Globe and Smart to increase capital expenditures significantly with Globe set to spend P90 billion, and Smart P92 billion in 2021. Both investments are the highest annually for each telco for the past six years.
DITO, meanwhile, plans to go head on with the incumbents fulfilling its commitment of spending P150 billion this year for its infrastructure roll-out.