Customers of PLDT wireless subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) experience faster video loading times and fewer video stalling occurrences while on Smart’s LTE network, according to the latest analysis by Opensignal.
The analysis, which is available on Opensignal’s website and covered the period Nov. 1, 2018 to Jan. 29, 2019, showed that Smart scored a ‘good’ video experience score of 56.6 points on Opensignal’s 4G Video Experience scale, well ahead of competition’s ‘poor’ score of 34.9 points out of 100. This score includes video loading time and video stalling metrics.
In terms of video load times, Smart customers experienced faster load times at 5 seconds, compared to competition’s 8.3 seconds. Opensignal’s 4G Video Load Time represents the average period of time mobile users have to wait for a streamed video to begin playing over an LTE connection.
Meanwhile, 4G Video Stalling Occurrence measures the proportion of users that experience an interruption in playback after a video begins streaming.
“Again, we observed a big gap between the two operators with 15.7% of Smart’s users and 40.3% of Globe’s experiencing stalling when streaming video to their smartphones,” Opensignal’s Francesco Rizzato wrote.
“Many network operators that achieved Very Good Video Experience scores have just one in every ten users experiencing interruptions when playing video on an LTE connection. Having four out of ten users seeing their screen freeze during playback is definitely one of the reasons why Globe achieved a Poor score,” Rizzato added.
“Now that 4G access in the Philippines is becoming more and more of a commodity, all operators will need to focus on improving their subscribers’ experience in other areas beyond LTE reach. Our analysis shows that Smart has been doing its legwork, but it also raises the question of whether we will need to wait for 5G to see any improvement in Globe’s network experience,” Rizzato said.
Best network for video
These results come amid studies that show Filipinos are among the world’s most avid online video viewers. In 2018, online video viewing on Smart’s LTE network surged, leading to an over 100% increase in mobile data usage in 2018, and a 62-percent jump in mobile data revenues year-on-year.
This award is the latest in Smart’s string of network superiority citations from several independent third-party firms, including Ookla, Tutela, and global benchmarking leader P3 communications GmbH
“These awards are a testament to our continuous network upgrades across the country,” said Mario G. Tamayo, PLDT-Smart senior vice president for Network Planning and Engineering.
“We are continuously expanding and improving our network to provide the best mobile data experience to our customers—whether they use it for streaming online video, for keeping in touch with their loved ones, or for accessing other online services, such as email, mobile banking and e-commerce,” he added.
Underpinning this network performance is PLDT’s expansive fiber network, which now spans over 244,000 kilometers and also supports Smart’s mobile network by providing high-capacity links to cellular base stations. To push further the already significant network advantage of PLDT and Smart, and to support an active campaign for more revenues, PLDT and Smart are undertaking yet another massive capital expenditures program for 2019 by allocating up to PHP 78.4 billion budget this year.