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PHL 5G speed gains vs 4G among world’s largest

THE Philippines posted the second-largest gain globally in terms of 5G download speeds relative to 4G in the fourth quarter, according to UK mobile analytics company Opensignal Ltd.

“Emerging markets see some of the biggest jumps in mobile experience with 5G. In Thailand, our mobile users see 5G download speed 13.4 times faster than the 4G download speed — the greatest increase in the world — with the Philippines second with 10.1 times and Saudi Arabia third,” Opensignal said in a report issued Wednesday.

Opensignal’s download speed measure represents the average speed using an active 5G connection.

The Philippines had the largest gains in terms of 5G video experience, which topped 4G equivalents by about 40%.

Thailand, whose 5G video experience was 29% better than its 4G video experience, was second, followed by Hong Kong, which posted a 14% improvement.

Fitch Ratings has said emerging markets in the Asia-Pacific region like the Philippines are “likely to pace 5G investments over the next few years to support cash flow, and enable investments to meet proven demand.”

Fitch expects operating cash flow to significantly “lag behind 5G investments, keeping free cash flow (FCF) constrained over the next three years.”

The near-term boost from 5G revenue is unlikely to be significant, it said, citing a lack of “compelling” applications that differentiate 5G services from 4G.

PLDT, Inc. Chief Revenue Officer Alfredo S. Panlilio said at a briefing in October that the telco might set a higher budget for 5G in 2021.

PLDT’s wireless arm Smart Communications, Inc. launched its 5G service commercially in July last year.

Globe Telecom, Inc. is also rolling out more 5G-covered areas this year. Globe’s 5G is currently available in 1,045 areas across the country.

PLDT’s 5G network is available in Makati City, New Clark City in Pampanga, and the Araneta district of Quezon City.

Hastings Holdings, Inc., a unit of PLDT Beneficial Trust Fund subsidiary MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., has a majority stake in BusinessWorld through the Philippine Star Group, which it controls. — Arjay L. Balinbin


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