Following the deadline set by President Rodrigo Duterte for telcos last month, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) has finally released its December 2020 report concerning the status of mobile network service in the Philippines.

The report shows that the Philippines is among those countries with slowest mobile internet speeds not only in the Asia Pacific region but also in the entire world, and one of the reasons cited by the NTC is the lack of funding for ICT infrastructure coming from the government.

Countries with the fastest mobile internet speeds are also the ones where governments are heavily spending on ICT infrastructure.

The Philippines ranks 110th in terms of mobile internet speed, according to the latest report from the Speedtest Global Index. From 7.44Mbps back in July 2016, the country’s mobile internet speed skyrocketed to 18.49Mbps in November 2020.

Experts and lawmakers, however, pointed out that it only looks good based on the percentage of improvement at 148.52%. The NTC added that it isn’t enough compared to the global average.

The global average mobile internet download speed sits at 45.69Mbps, a far cry from the Philippines’ current speed.

Last month, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. authored a bill that aims to fine telcos that fail to reach the mandatory internet speed target. Netizens, however, believe that it would do more harm than good, especially on consumers.

The measure might lead to a higher cost of connectivity. The bill also seems to be a warning similar to President Rodrigo Duterte’s threat of expropriation against telcos that fail to improve their network services.

The warning might be reasonable but the lack of cooperation and assistance from the government is also seen as a cause of setback in network improvement. Investments in ICT infrastructure is shouldered by private telcos in the country.

UK-based technology site cable.co.uk’s October 2020 report shows that Filipinos pay more than their competitive neighbors. 1GB of mobile data in the Philippines costs $1.42 based on the samples gathered in February 2020. The cheapest mobile data was at $0.95, while the most expensive was at $7.87.

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