Internet speeds in Manila at par with SE Asian neighbors

TEN hours and two minutes. 

That’s how much time we Filipinos spend on the Internet each day—whether it’s for work, school, entertainment, and, most of all, for getting those social-media updates. 

When it comes to being the world’s heaviest internet users, we Pinoys have overtaken the Thais to claim the top spot. We are also the world’s most voracious social-media users spending around four hours and 12 minutes on various social-media platforms every day.  

In comparison, the global average online time is just six hours and 42 minutes. This was according to the Digital 2019 Report of social-media management firm Hootsuite and creative agency We Are Social released earlier this year. 

And because smartphones are becoming more affordable than ever, it also comes as no surprise that a growing number of Pinoys are switching to the small screen, watching YouTube or their favorite TV shows and movies from streaming services like Netflix, HOOQ, iFlix, Fox+, iWant, etc.

And to think we don’t even have the fastest of Internet speeds, so imagine once we get 5G. The good news is that our Internet speeds have been improving and are on a par with our Southeast Asian neighbors.

In the latest report from OpenSignal, Manila posted a Download Speed Experience score of 11.2 Mbps putting us behind Ho Chi Minh (14.7 Mbps) and Kuala Lumpur (11.8 Mbps) but ahead of Bangkok (9.8 Mbps), Jakarta (8.2 Mbps) and Phnom Penh in Cambodia (6.3 Mbps).

The analysis also showed that Manila posted a “fair” mobile video experience score of 45, alongside the cities of Phnom Penh, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, who also fell in the same category. The new OpenSignal report covers data gathered from February 1 to May 2, 2019.  

While the current report has no information per operator, OpenSignal previously released a Mobile Network Experience Report on the Philippines which showed how the country’s operators performed. In the earlier study released in March, it showed that in Manila, Smart posted a Download Speed Experience score of 15.2 Mbps and a “good” video experience score of 55.4.  These findings were based on crowdsourced data gathered from November 1, 2018, to January 29, 2019.

Smart’s scores in the March report was well ahead of competition in the Philippines, and places its performance at levels similar to Hong Kong and Ho Chi Minh in terms of Download Speed Experience and Video Experience.

At the country level, Smart also led in four metrics—download and upload speed experience, video experience and latency experience—while it tied with the competition in terms of 4G availability.

Download speed experience factors in both 3G and 4G speeds along with the availability of each technology, whereas OpenSignal’s video experience metric uses an International Telecommunication Union (ITU)-based approach for measuring video quality. It is derived from several underlying parameters based on real-world measurements of video streams from the world’s largest video content providers.

So the question now is: “How can you maximize your LTE speed and enjoy the fastest internet available?”

  • Check your device: First is to check if your device supports LTE. All you have to do is check your device’s specifications, but if you have one of those newer phones, you’re probably good to go.
  • Upgrade your SIM: Now that you have an LTE device, you’ll also need to get an LTE sim. You can upgrade your old SIM to an LTE SIM by heading to your network’s business center and request for an LTE sim. LTE SIMS are tri-cut, which means that they work on devices with standard, micro or nano SIM slots.
  • Check your location: Sadly, not all areas in the Philippines have LTE yet, so you need to check if your area has LTE coverage. 
  • Subscribe to a data plan: Of course you can’t connect to the internet without a data subscription. If you love watching videos, Smart has boosted its data-packed prepaid bundles with their new Giga offers. 

Now that we’re done with the network tips, here are some other things you can do on your smartphone to speed things up. Keep in mind that sometimes, it’s not the Internet connection but your device that’s lagging and slowing down things. 

  • Choose LTE: If you are in an area where there’s LTE coverage make sure your network is set to 4G. Go to Settings > Mobile Network > Tap Preferred Network Type and choose LTE. 
  • Turn on Data Saver: If you are using an Android device, you’re probably using Chrome as your default browser. Open Chrome, tap the menu icon in the top right hand corner, go to Settings, and scroll down to Data Saver. Switch it to on. Data Saver uses Google servers to compress pages before you visit them, which will in turn make them load faster. 
  • Go “lite”: Facebook, Messenger, Twitter, Instagram and a lot of apps now have a “lite” version, which are designed to use less data and run faster. 
  • Use an adblocker: Some ads can make up as much as half of a Web page file size, so if you block them, there should be faster loading times. 
  • Disable or uninstall apps or widgets: Last, get rid of the stuff you rarely use like widgets, apps or even games. They might be useless but they still can consume a lot of data while running in the background. 
  • Same goes for unused widgets; delete and free up space to speed up your phone.

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