Biz heads: US study doubtful; net speed in PH ‘frustrating’
‘Survey saying PH mobile net speed up does not show net users’ actual experiences’
A recent survey result showing the Philippines overtaking some of its peers in the Asia-Pacific region in terms of mobile internet speed has been described by business leaders in Cebu as doubtful when placed against actual experiences of internet users in the country.
Virgilio Espeleta, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) vice president for business development, said actual mobile internet usage is still quite frustrating.
“We’re still catching up, (but) the threat of new entrants in the industry have compelled them (telcos) to upgrade their services,” he said in a text message.
President Rodrigo Duterte has repeatedly threatened PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, the country’s incumbent telcos, with plans to bring in new foreign competitors if they failed to deliver on promises to improve services to the public.
Akamai Tech report
According to US-based Akamai Technologies’ “State of the Internet Report” covering the third quarter of 2016 recently cited by Inquirer, the Philippines had an average mobile connection speed of 13.9 megabits per second (mbps), outpacing Australia and Japan, which logged 12.8 mbps and 11.6 mbps, respectively.
The Philippines ranked the 6th fastest in mobile internet speed during the second quarter of 2016, according to Akamai.
PLDT and Globe had earlier promised better mobile internet speeds following the acquisition of San Miguel Corporation’s telco unit last May 30.
Espeleta, however, said that this improvement has not been felt across all sectors yet, despite the survey results released by Akamai.
“(The) internet is the new highway infrastructure needed, without which you cannot transact business competitively. Slow speed, disrupted connections, limited bandwidth is like traveling a narrow, dilapidated village road,” he said.
For Cebu City investment czar Joel Mari Yu, the services of both telcos have deteriorated since Duterte stepped into office six months ago.
“There are more dropped calls. It is more difficult to connect,” he said.
Yu said the reason for this is that these telcos have so many subscribers yet are underspending on infrastructure.
Nonetheless, he said he recognized that the marked improvement in mobile internet speed cited in the survey might indicate that both telcos were undertaking improvements of their existing facilities.
But Yu cited the need to build more cell sites and urged the government to be more punitive towards underperforming telcos.
“What the government can do is to take back these telcos’ franchises and give it to someone else,” he said.
Despite gains in mobile internet speed, the Philippines remained near the bottom in the region in broadband speed and adoption.
Akamai data for the third quarter this year showed the Philippines with an average connection speed of 4.2 mbps, putting the country on the second-slowest spot on the list next to India, which logged 4.1 mbps.
South Korea, Hong Kong and Singapore led in this aspect, with average connection speeds of 26.3 mbps, 20.1 mbps and 18.2 mbps, respectively.
According to Akamai, this underscored the need for more investments in this area as well as government support in terms of cutting bureaucratic red tape.
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