Accelerating 5G adoption and empowering digital lifestyle

Accelerating 5G adoption and empowering digital lifestyle
Accelerating 5G adoption and empowering digital lifestyle

5G adoption and empowering digital lifestyle

Filipinos are known to be digital-savvy, with the Philippines having been dubbed as the social media capital of the world. Even before the new normal pushed more people to the digital world, many Filipinos have already been exploring it.

According to the Digital 2022 report on the Philippines, there were 76.01 million Internet users in the country in January this year. And Internet users (aged 16-64) in the Philippines spent an average of 10 hours and 27 minutes using the Internet each day.

With many Filipinos present online, they surely want to have a smooth experience in the digital space. This makes the fifth-generation network or 5G sound promising.

The latest generation of mobile technology, 5G is said to be 10 to a hundred times faster than 4G. Aside from higher speeds, 5G also has lower latency and larger capacity.

Thousands of 5G cell sites have now been fired up across the Philippines. As of October, Smart Communications has the widest 5G network coverage in the country, with over 4,400 5G sites in more than 4,000 locations. Globe has fired up more than 2,000 5G cell sites as of February. DITO, the country’s third operator, recently launched a 5G home broadband service in select areas in Metro Manila.

The 5G take-up in the country has also been rapidly increasing, though a small fraction still of the total user base, according to UK mobile analytics company Opensignal Ltd in the country’s 5G Experience Report  in October.

Smart said it has around 800,000 5G users on its network in October, which was a 200% increase from the number of its 5G users in December 2020. Meanwhile, Globe said it has detected over 1.62 million devices in its 5G network as of the end-December 2021, and expected to have higher 5G device penetration this 2022.

But how’s the digital experience for 5G users in the country so far?

Opensignal’s “Benchmarking the 5G Experience — Asia Pacific — March 2022” recorded that the Philippines has 136.6 Mbps (megabits per second) 5G download speed and 408.7 Mbps in 5G peak download speed. While the country’s 5G upload speed is 13.6 Mbps.

In addition, among the 10 Asia-Pacific markets in the report, the Philippines saw the greatest uplift when comparing the 5G versus the 4G mobile network experience.

“Impressively, the average 5G download speeds seen by our users were 8.9 times faster than average 4G speeds in the Philippines,” Opensignal analyst Ian Fogg said in the report.

Meanwhile, the country’s 5G availability and 5G reach scored 11.1% and 3.7, respectively. “While not as large, the numerous islands and challenging interior of the Philippines also mean that the scores of 11.1% and 3.7 are similarly impressive,” Mr. Fogg wrote.

Looking at the operators in the Philippines, Opensignal’s Mobile Network Experience Report released in April showed that Smart topped in 5G Availability and 5G Reach with a score of 14.7% and 4.4 points, respectively.

“Our Smart 5G users spent the most time connected to 5G and found a 5G signal in the most locations, making it the outright winner of the 5G Availability and 5G Reach awards,” Opensignal senior analyst Sam Fenwick said in the report.

Smart also won in the 5G download speed and 5G upload speed, scoring 149.9 Mbps and 14.6 Mbps, respectively.

South Korea topped all the speed measures (5G Download Speed [438 Mbps], 5G Peak Download Speed [866.9 Mbps], and 5G Upload Speed [36.1 Mbps]) in the Opensignal 5G Experience report on 10 APAC markets in March. The country is also on top in 5G Availability (30.7%) and 5G Reach (6.6).

“5G is the future of mobile services, although 4G remains in use everywhere, as do 3G and even 2G in some markets,” Mr. Fogg said. “Across Asia Pacific, operators are continuing to expand their 5G services because of the advantages of this latest technology in serving users. In many markets, operators have either just launched 5G services, or are preparing for their first launch.”

The 5G advantage

So how would such presence and further expansion of 5G empower digital lifestyle?

The faster Internet speed, lower latency, and larger capacity promised by 5G can bring a better digital experience, transforming entertainment and business or industry operations.

But while 5G is designed to give more capacity for using social media or video streaming, according to Ericsson, 5G could also provide new innovative use cases like securely streaming high-quality video from an ambulance to the hospital and empowering various new types of smart devices and industry digitalization. 

Aside from enabling high-resolution videos, 5G can further power immersive experiences. Hence, 5G could support businesses looking to create innovative and more creative ways to engage with consumers.

5G, most notably, is also designed to connect other devices more than just smartphones. “For a smart watch that runs on a small battery, 5G can provide a connection that consumes very little energy. For an industrial robot, 5G can provide an extremely stable and fast connection,” Ericsson explained on its website. “This is valuable because, in the future[,] we will see more and more new types of connected devices, each requiring connections with different levels of performance and characteristics.”

While it is shown to enhance and transform day-to-day life, 5G has also been considered to have the capacity to pave the way for more innovations.

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