Philippine Daily Inquirer

Except for voice calls, PLDT, Globe pass NTC quality test

- By Miguel R. Camus @miguelrcam­usINQ

The National Telecommun­ications Commission (NTC) has found PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom’s quality of service acceptable, only weighed down by spotty voice calls for their 3G and 4G handsets.

In a rare statement discussing the quality of service of PLDT’s Smart Communicat­ions and Globe, the regulator said both had mainly complied with acceptable standards. This was based on its quality of service survey, the results of which were released yesterday.

The NTC measured 10 areas: blocked calls, dropped call rate, signal strength, signal quality, call set up time, data service, ping statistics, applicatio­n throughout (bandwidth consumed in a given period), page loading times, and the so-called round trip time, or how long it takes for data to trav- el from the mobile device to the server and back.

The benchmarki­ng was conducted over five random days in January 2018 covering areas within Metro Manila. The NTC said tests involved 500 calls each for Smart and Globe from inside a moving vehicle.

For blocked calls, the NTC said Smart and Globe stayed within the acceptable standard of 4 percent, or four blocked calls for every 100 attempts. It said Globe scored 0.4 percent while Smart measured 1 percent.

Both also passed the dropped call test by staying below the maximum 2 percent threshold. Globe scored 0.41 percent while Smart had 1.21 percent dropped calls.

The two telcos showed mixed results in terms of signal strength and voice quality, which were measured in decibel milliwatts or dBm.

The average signal level, or the signal bar of a subscriber’s handset, should not go below -85 dBm. The NTC measured this across 2G, 3G and 4G handsets.

For 2G, Globe scored -72.46 dBm while Smart scored -74.61 dBm. For 3G, Globe scored -70.32 dBm while Smart’s stood at -67.29 dBm. For 4G, Globe got -86.9 dBm while Smart scored -85.54 dBm.

The NTC also measured average signal quality, which included the sound of voice calls. Poor quality means calls are choppy or garbled.

For 2G handsets, the acceptable range is from 0 to 4 dBm. Globe scored 0.57 dBm while Smart got 0.38 dBm.

For 3G and 4G, the minimum acceptable measure was -12 dBm. Globe scored -12.85 dBm while Smart got -12.29 dBm for 3G. Globe was at -10.83 dBm while Smartwas at 12.28 dBmfor 4G.

Both telcos also met the minimum 14-second call set-up time, with Globe registerin­g 4.46 seconds while Smart was at 5.08 seconds.

In terms of their mobile internet browsing capabiliti­es, Globe received a “success rate” of 98.33 percent while Smart had 99.83 percent. Both received a 100 percent ping success rate.

Applicatio­n throughout was at 10.64 megabits per second for Globe and 11.97 Mbps for Smart, the NTC added.

In terms of page loading time, the NTC measured various social media apps and search engines. For Facebook, Globe recorded a page loading time of 4.9 seconds while Smart scored 4.38 seconds. For Google, Globe was at 2.63 seconds while Smart was at 3.34 seconds.

A 2016 study by Google revealed over half of site visits are abandoned if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load. At the time, sites took an average of 19 seconds to load while on a 3G network.

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