Fifth generation (5G) mobile networks are making significant advances in the Philippines, according to the global leader in network intelligence and connectivity insights provider, Ookla.
Most Philippine operators, according to a report by Ookla, launched 5G mobile networks in 2020 shortly after Thai operators did.
Smart, one of the major Philippine telecommunications service providers, launched 5G technology in June 2019 for fixed wireless units and launched the same for mobile subscribers in February 2020 in Metro Manila.
Globe, another major service provider in the Philippines launched 5G in July 2020, originally targeting subscribers in Metro Manila who had 5G-capable devices.
Both operators used spectrum in the 3,500 megahertz band, which is considered as the “sweet spot” in terms of 5G network capacity and coverage.
Ookla data showed that Smart recorded a median download speed of 200.43 mbps and 19.67 mbps upload speed in the first quarter of 2022. These were way ahead of Globe which registered median download speeds of 121.29 mbps and upload speeds of 9.93 mbps.
Availability of 5G nationwide, Ookla said, nearly doubled in just one year—from 9.4 percent coverage in the first quarter of 2021 to 18.1 percent in the first quarter of 2022.
“Part of this is related to the easing of right-of-way (ROW) rules,” said Ookla.
New ROW rules, enforced by the Department of Public Works and Highways in March 2021, lifted the ban on construction of critical infrastructure, particularly cell sites, along national roads.
Another reason for improvements in both 4G and 5G developments was the active involvement of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) in allowing more telcos to enter the playing field.
“A third player was introduced to the market to add competition, improve network performance and reduce prices in the market,” said Ookla in its report.
The way was paved for the entry of the third player by the NTC and Department of Information and Communications Technology which declared Dito (then Mislatel) as the new major telco player.
According to Ookla, the Philippines was not the only country to benefit from ROW reforms. India made the same move in October 2021, or eight months after the Philippines did.
In the Philippines, Smart reached 25.5 percent 5G coverage in the first quarter of 2022 Globe reached 15.3 percent coverage. Ookla attributed this to “spectrum deployment strategies” of each company.
Smart had 1.6 million connected 5G devices to its network in the first quarter of 2022, or more than triple its level—376,000—in the first quarter of 2021. Globe, by end of March 2022, had more than 2 million devices connected to 5G.
Ookla noted that plans of both telcos to further invest in 5G bodes well for the spread of the technology, which delivers faster connection to the internet.
Smart is investing up to P85 billion in 5G rollout nationwide which started in December 2021. Smart’s mobile data traffic grew 30 percent year-on-year to 1,010 petabytes while the number of 5G base stations rose to 7,300 in February 2022 from just 5,000 in 2020, corresponding to a 5G population of 66 percent.
Globe added 390 sites in just the first three months of 2022, extending 5G network reach to 95 percent of the National Capital Region and 85 percent of key cities in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Globe spent at least P92.8 billion to build 2,000 outdoor 5G sites and in-building solutions, 1,407 new cell sites and 1.4 million fiber lines.
Dito, the third Philippine telco, has partnered with hardware supplier Nokia to deploy 5G services in Mindanao in May 2021. In March 2022, this telco rolled out 5G home wi-fi services with 145 Metro Manila villages as pilot areas.
Villages in the cities of Manila, Caloocan and Quezon would be the first to benefit from 500 mbps of download speeds. Tests involving 5G in Caloocan showed download speeds of 512.66 mbps in the first quarter of this year.
Kaspersky reports more than 340, 000 attacks with new malicious WhatsApp mod
November 20, 2023 8:52 p.m.
Kaspersky researchers recently uncovered a new malicious WhatsApp spy mod, which is now proliferating within another popular messenger, Telegram.
While the modification serves its intended purpose by extending user experience, it also clandestinely harvests personal information from its victims. With an extensive reach surpassing 340,000 in just one month, this malware predominantly targets users who communicate in Arabic and Azeri, though victims have been identified globally.
Users often turn to third-party mods for popular messaging apps to add extra features. However, some of these mods, while enhancing functionality, also come with hidden malware. Kaspersky has identified a new WhatsApp mod offering not only additions like scheduled messages and customizable options, but it also contains a malicious spyware module.
The modified WhatsApp client’s manifest file includes suspicious components (a service and a broadcast receiver) not present in the original version. The receiver initiates a service, launching the spy module when the phone is powered on or charging. Once activated, the malicious implant sends a request with device information to the attacker’s server. This data covers IMEI, phone number, country and network codes, and more. It also transmits the victim’s contacts and account details every five minutes as well as being able to set up microphone recordings and exfiltrate files from external storage.
The malicious version found its way through popular Telegram channels, predominantly targeting Arabic and Azeri speakers, with some of these channels boasting nearly two million subscribers. Kaspersky researchers alerted Telegram about the issue. Kaspersky’s telemetry identified over 340,000 attacks involving this mod in just October. This threat emerged relatively recently, becoming active in mid-August 2023.
Examples of Telegram channels distributing malicious mods
Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Turkey, and Egypt witnessed the highest attack rates. While the preference leans towards Arabic and Azerbaijani-speaking users, it also impacts individuals from the US, Russia, UK, Germany and beyond.
Kaspersky products detect the Trojan with the following verdict Trojan-Spy.AndroidOS.CanesSpy.
“People naturally trust apps from highly followed sources, but fraudsters exploit this trust. The spread of malicious mods through popular third-party platforms highlights the importance of using official IM clients. However, if you need some extra features not presented in the original client, you should consider employing a reputable security solution before installing third-party software, as it will protect your data from being compromised. For robust personal data protection, always download apps from official app stores or official websites,” comments Dmitry Kalinin, security expert at Kaspersky.
To stay safe, Kaspersky experts recommend:
- Use Official Marketplaces: Download apps and software from reputable and official sources. Avoid third-party app stores, as the risk that may host malicious or compromised apps is higher.
- Use reputable security software: Install and maintain reputable antivirus and anti-malware software on your devices. Regularly scan your devices for potential threats and keep your security software up to date. Kaspersky Premium protects its users from known and unknown threats.
- Educate yourself about common scams: Stay informed about the latest cyber threats, techniques, and tactics. Be cautious of unsolicited requests, suspicious offers, or urgent demands for personal or financial information.
- Third-party software from popular sources often comes with zero warranty. Keep in mind that such apps can contain malicious implants, e. g. because of supply chain attacks.
Globe’s next-gen leaders delve into AI and humanity at International Design Conference
October 27, 2023 3:45 p.m.
Globe’s next generation leaders shared invaluable insights on the blend of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the human experience at the 7th International Design Conference, an event that marked the 50th anniversary of the Design Center of the Philippines.
Returning with more disruptive design concepts and an immersive environment that encouraged attendees to rethink limits, the two-day conference, held in cooperation with Globe, unveiled the evolving landscape and transformative potential of design.
Design luminaries and game-changers from the design sector and the Philippine creative economy collaborated to captivate audiences with immersive keynote presentations, provocative fireside chats, inspiring case studies, future-focused visioning, and an industry meet-up.
Globe’s Wil Sarmiento, Director and Head of Customer Lifecycle, and Paolo Toledo, Director and Head of Creatives, stood out with their forward-thinking perspectives. They joined world-renowned personalities such as award-winning design critic and author Alice Rawsthorn, program director of the Danish Design Centre Christina Melander; Sarah ichioka, founding director of Desire Lines; Dr. Anna Whicher, Policy Consultant of the “Making Design Count: The Value and Impact of Design on the Philippine Economy”; and Professor Daniela Bohlinger, Sustainability Design Pioneer.
Sarmiento, delivered a keynote that delved into the future skills in the age of human-machine collaboration, underscoring the potential of a symbiotic relationship that harnesses the strengths of both.
“Being human is the greatest design of all. While technology provides efficient solutions, it simply answers “what’s right” or “what’s needed”. BUT it’s us humans who trigger innovation and purpose. We hold the power to ask “what’s next?” and more importantly, “what for?” he said.
The International Design Conference, with its rich legacy of championing design innovation, is a thought leadership platform that celebrates the intersection of design, business, technology, and policy while thriving at the edge of disciplines to remain provocative and to use design and creativity to ask difficult questions and to take the audience to new territories.
Globe’s design leaders not only contributed to this dialogue but also illuminated the path forward, emphasizing a future where technology and human ingenuity seamlessly converge.
For more information about the International Design Conference and its key takeaways, please visit www.facebook.com/DTI.DesignCenterPH.
To learn more about Globe, go to https://www.globe.com.ph/.
LG honored with multiple awards for Innovative Product Design at IDEA 2023
September 4, 2023 3:11 p.m.
LG Electronics (LG) has once again been recognized for outstanding product design, earning 13 awards at the International Design Excellence Awards (IDEA) 2023, announced at the International Design Conference in New York, New York.
The LG PuriCare AeroTower, an air purifier that can also be used as a side table and mood lamp, was honored with a Bronze Award at yesterday’s conference. Offering personalized performance and design options, as well as a compact form factor, LG’s air purifier can be tailored to match any home interior and is ideal for smaller spaces. With its latest win, the LG PuriCare AeroTower has now been recognized by all three of the world’s top industrial design award programs: IDEA, the Red Dot Award and iF Design Award.
Another IDEA 2023 honoree, the LG OLED Flex (model LX3) is an innovative TV featuring the world’s first bendable 42-inch OLED screen. The LX3, which made its international debut at IFA last year, offers a new level of screen customizability – its self-lit display able to go from completely flat to spectacularly curved with the push of a button.
“The achievement from this year’s IDEA is the result of the synergy between customer experience-centered technology and aesthetics,” said Hwang Sung-gyul, head of the Design Management Center at LG Electronics. “We will continue to improve the level of perfection by reflecting innovative customer experiences beyond the existing framework in product design by constantly communicating and empathizing with customers.”
Organized annually by the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA), IDEA is one of the world’s leading design award programs, recognizing exceptional achievements in the area of industrial design while taking into consideration various factors relating to design strategy, digital interaction, the environment, and social impact, when selecting award recipients.
Life’s about more than having the latest technology, rather, it’s about the experiences technology creates that impact our lives. LG Electronics Philippines delivers consumer electronics through top-of-the-line home entertainment appliances that prepare Filipinos for their greatest moments. LG promises to bring “Innovation for a Better Life” nationwide – from Luzon, to Visayas, and Mindanao. LG products are available via lg.com/ph and through its flagship stores in Lazada and Shopee. For more information, visit and follow their social media channels on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok and Youtube (@lgphilippines).