Ensuring improvement

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EDITORIAL

Independent mobile analytics firm Opensignal reports that the mobile network experience in the country has seen “impressive improvements” since 2017.

According to the report, download speed in the country improved by around 80 percent as average download speeds rose from 4.7 Mbps to 8.5 Mbps between the fourth quarter of 2017 and the second quarter of 2020. During the period, 4G availability in the country also increased by nearly 20 percentage points, pushing past the 80 percent mark.

The report attempts to quantify the concern of President Rodrigo Duterte after threatening to close down the country’s telecom operators unless their services improve by December and has found the mobile network experience of users in the Philippines to have improved significantly in terms of both download speed experience and 4G availability since the start of 2018.

It recommended actions that could be taken if the Philippines wishes to accelerate the positive trend, including drawing on some of the actions taken by regulators from around the world to ensure that speeds remain resilient despite the increased load on telecommunications networks that was triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic such as increasing the availability of spectrum and cutting red tape. Threatening the country’s telecom operators with closure was not included in its recommendations.

The steady improvement of the country’s telecom services will be especially necessary during this pandemic when working from home and distance learning is becoming the norm for millions. Despite the noticeable and measureable improvements that have already been made, our telecom and internet networks are still not up to par with the rest of the developed world whose networks are also being constantly improved and upgraded to meet the burgeoning demands of an internet dependent generation. These improvements can come if government and the private sector can work closely together to streamline the processes and update requirements to allow networks to be continuously upgraded to meet the demand.

President Duterte’s threats can be the catalyst the country’s telecom sector needs to rise to the challenge. Hopefully our government regulators, local government units, and the concerned telcos all rise to the challenge and satisfy not only our president, but all the telecom consumers of the country as well.*

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October 2020
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