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Enhanced Digital Network to be Rolled Out in the Philippines

A robust and pervasive digital network to roll out advancements such as 5G technology can help address the everyday problems of Filipinos and is essential to a sustainable digital future. This was the key insight shared by the Vice President of a Philippine network provider.

“We believe that with the limitations and challenges our country faces today, digital is the answer to many of our problems. The foundation of a successful digital economy is a superior network utilising first-world technology. Once we achieve this, we will be closer to our mission of seeing a Philippine where families’ dreams come true, businesses flourish, and the whole nation is admired,” he said.

As a result, the network provider in the Philippines continues to aggressively upgrade and modernise its network. So far, the company has upgraded 92.5% of its cell sites to 4G LTE to support the digital productivity of its 84 million customers. In addition, the company has nearly 1,700 5G locations in major cities and population centres., namely the National Capital Region, Cebu, Bacolod, Iloilo, Boracay, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Zamboanga and General Santos City. More Globe 5G sites are in the pipeline.

5G technology, which is more than ten times faster than 4G, provides faster connectivity speeds, ultra-low latency, more bandwidth, and superior network reliability. This year, the network provider will invest P70 billion to fuel its expansion efforts. According to a network provider in the Philippines, accelerated network rollouts utilising 4G and 5G technologies are starting to pay off. The average fixed broadband download speed has nearly tripled to 66.55 Mbps in June 2021, up from 25.34 Mbps in August 2020. During the same time, average mobile download speeds more than doubled to 32.84 Mbps from 16.44 Mbps.

According to a report, the Philippines’ 5G download speed is now at 141 Mbps, which is among the fastest in the region. The Philippines is among the top Asia-Pacific countries, ranking 6th in download speed and peak download speed. It also placed 8th in 5G upload speed. Recently, the network provider was named the Philippines’ most consistent mobile network for the first quarter of 2021 and leads in 10 of 17 regions in the country in terms of mobile median download speed. The company’s 3.2 Mbps speed in the entertainment ISP Speed Index is comparable to the 3.4 Mbps in the United States.

“Now that we are beginning to enjoy first-world connectivity, it is our commitment to creating a Globe ecosystem to serve our customers better and enrich their lives. Through innovation, we have been able to democratise financial services, primary health care, and e-commerce. It is now accessible and affordable to all,” the Vice President added.

To collaborate, the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of mobile money, which is a safer and more convenient alternative to cash transactions. With over 40 million registered users and 1.9 million merchants, the company’s e-payment service is now the leading mobile wallet in the country. It has since transformed into an all-in-one app that offers lifestyle choices, investments, insurance and even enables donations to charities.

OpenGov Asia reported that the use of digital technologies in the Philippines, however, is still below its potential, with the country’s digital adoption generally trailing behind many regional neighbours. The digital divide between those with and without the internet leads to unequal access to social services and life-changing economic opportunities.

Efforts to enhance digital infrastructure in the Philippines are hindered by a lack of competition as well as restrictions on investment in the telecommunications markets, according to the report. These restrictions include the public utility designation of telecommunications, which limits foreign ownership and places a cap on the rate of return. The report also identifies the low transaction account ownership, the lack of a national ID, nascent payment infrastructure, and the perceived risk of digital transactions as restricting the wider adoption of digital payments.

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