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.
PH Internet speed rises 7 notches for fixed, 4 for mobile in Global Rankings
August 17, 2022 11:32 p.m.
The Marcos administration welcomed anew increases in internet download speeds in both fixed broadband and mobile for the Philippines by Ookla Speedtest Global Index’s July 2022 report.
The country’s fixed broadband median speed increased to 75.62Mbps from 68.94Mbps registered the month before. Average download speed for fixed broadband clocked in at 102.93Mbps.
Mobile median speed also increased as the country yielded a download speed of 22.56Mbps from 21.41Mbps the month before. Average download speed for mobile clocked in at 52.33Mbps.
The increases in download speed improved the country’s global rank in fixed broadband by seven notches and four notches in mobile.
The Philippines now ranks 46th out of 182 countries for fixed broadband and 84th out of 140 countries for mobile.
Streamlined and quicker issuance of LGU permits enabling telcos to fast-track building infrastructure (cellular towers and fiber optic network) needed in boosting services and connectivity contributed significantly in improving internet speed.
Such measures are also in full support to President Marcos’ plans to accelerate the build-up of digital infrastructure in the country.
The Q1 2023 deployment of Elon Musk’s Starlink’s broadband service in the country is also expected to improve internet speeds further.
Aimed at connecting geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas, the service offers high speed low latency satellite internet service with download speed between 100Mbps to 200Mbps.
Filipinos from remote areas will soon have access to education, health services, and online banking and other digital needs.
The steady monthly improvement in internet speed is an essential part of fulfilling President Marcos’ marching orders to improve connectivity and e-governance in the country.
Every 2 in 3 Southeast Asia businesses are ransomware victims, Kaspersky study finds
August 16, 2022 5:39 p.m.
Ever since the infamous Wannacry attack, ransomware has become something of a buzzword within the corporate world, with large attacks on enterprises appearing in headlines month after month.
Businesses in Southeast Asia (SEA) are well within the radar of these cybercriminals with three in five (67%) confirming that they have been victims, according to the latest research by Kaspersky.
Global cybersecurity company, Kaspersky, surveyed 900 respondents across North America, South America, Africa, Russia, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, 100 of which were from SEA. Conducted in April 2022, the research titled “How business executives perceive ransomware threat” gathered the answers from those in senior non-IT management (such as CEOs, VP, and Director level) and business owners or partners at companies with 50-1000 employees.
Half of those (34%) who have admitted having their data maliciously encrypted by cybercriminals experienced ransomware attacks not once but several times. The remaining respondents (33%) said they have experienced such incidents one-time only.
The most common denominator among ransomware victims in the region is that almost all paid the ransom (82.1%). In fact, 47.8% of the surveyed executives confessed that they paid the ransom as soon as possible for immediate access to their business data, two digits higher than the global average of 38.1%.
Almost a quarter (23.9%) did try to get their data back through back-ups or decryption but failed and paid ransom within two days while 10.4% took a week of effort before paying up.
When the ransomware victims were asked of the steps they will conduct should they face the same incident, majority (77%) of the business leaders in SEA confirmed that they will still pay the ransom showing a worrying tendency for companies that have already been a victim of ransomware to pay up, encouraging cybercriminals to continue their attacks.
“It is concerning to see that only 17.9% of businesses here in SEA victimized by ransomware did not budge on the cybercriminals’ demands. We stand firm that paying the ransom should not be a knee jerk reaction for enterprises. But, with more than half (67%) of those we surveyed admitting that their organizations would not survive without business data if attacked, we understand the urgency and the desperation to get their data back as soon as possible, by all means,” comments Yeo Siang Tiong, General Manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky.
Kaspersky’s study also revealed a key puzzle piece – that the majority (94%) of enterprises in SEA will seek external help if attacked by ransomware. This is a tad higher than the global rate at 89.9%.
Almost a quarter (20%) of which will contact the law enforcement, while 29% will reach out to a third party cybersecurity incident investigation and response service provider like Kaspersky. The remaining percent will contact both of these external organizations to know how to respond to a ransomware attack.
“With only 5% of enterprise leaders confirming that they have internal incident response capabilities or they have the regular IT team or service provider to figure out a ransomware attack, it is clear that our enterprises here in SEA need help. We advocate for cross-border and public-and-private cooperation that will help governments and companies to combat threats like ransomware. However, such is not the only answer. Enterprises here should really look into acting on concrete steps to upskill or even to build their own security defense team with intelligence-led incident detection and response capabilities,” adds Yeo.
Global cybersecurity company Kaspersky co-founded the global project called “No More Ransom Initiative” which has grown from four partners to 188 and has contributed 136 decryption tools covering 165 ransomware families.
Since its launch in 2016, it has helped more than 1.5 million people decrypt their devices all over the world. Nearly 30,000 ransomware victims from July last year to June end of 2022 in SEA were also able to retrieve their data through this project.
The project is done by Kaspersky along with the National High Tech Crime Unit of the Dutch National Police, Europol’s European Cybercrime Center, and other partners.
Kaspersky, however, puts emphasis on preventing a ransomware attack. The global cybersecurity company encourages businesses to follow these simple and effective recommendations to help protect their organizations against this threat:
- Always keep up-to-date copies of your files so you can replace them in case they are lost (e.g. due to malware or a broken device). These should be stored not only on a physical device but also in cloud storage for greater reliability. Make sure you can quickly access your backups in the event of an emergency.
- Install all security updates as soon as they become available. Always update your operating system and software to eliminate recent vulnerabilities.
- Provide security education to your staff. Explain that by following simple rules, employees can help prevent ransomware incidents. Check out dedicated training courses, such as the ones provided in the Kaspersky Automated Security Awareness Platform.
- Enable ransomware protection for all endpoints. There is a free Kaspersky Anti-Ransomware Tool for Business that shields computers and servers from ransomware and other types of malware, prevents exploits and is compatible with already installed security solutions.
- Enterprise companies are recommended to use anti-APT and EDR solutions, enabling capabilities for advanced threat discovery and detection, investigation and timely remediation of incidents, as well as to have access to the latest threat intelligence. An MDR provider could help to effectively hunt any advanced ransomware attack. All of the above is available within Kaspersky Expert Security.
If you become a victim, never pay the ransom. It won’t guarantee you get your data back but will encourage criminals to continue their business. Instead, report the incident to your local law enforcement agency and get help from incident response experts such as Kaspersky.
Companies can also try to find a decryptor on the internet – some of these are available at https://www.nomoreransom.org/en/index.html
Get Globe’s latest innovation:All-in-one Platinum ONE Plan for best connectivity, customer care experience
August 15, 2022 9:43 p.m.
Customers looking for the best and latest innovation from Globe can be the first to apply for the new all-in-one Platinum ONE Plan, which combines the best mobile and home WiFi network connection with unparalleled priority care.
From August 15 to September 14, new and existing Globe customers can pre-order at www.globe.com.ph/platinum/oneplan.html to apply for this first-in-the-market offer. This is most valuable to leaders and trailblazers who need to be connected constantly through their Globe mobile phone or their Globe At Home internet service.
“In these uncertain times and shifting needs of customers, Globe is working hard to provide important choices that will enable everyone to thrive and live seamlessly in the new normal through innovations that make a lasting impact,” said Darius Delgado, Head of Consumer Mobile Business.
“Platinum ONE Plan demonstrates the power of bringing together the best of what Globe can offer– from superior mobile services, reliable and high-speed fiber internet at home, best-in-class customer service, and overall rewarding experiences for the whole family,” Kaisie del Carmen-San Pablo, Head of Globe Platinum Business, added.
Platinum ONE Plan 3799 includes unlimited Fiber WiFi at home with speeds of up to 150Mbps, All-Month Surf on the Globe 5G priority network, unlimited calls and texts to all networks, and unlimited calls to landline numbers.
Platinum ONE Plan 4999, comes with all benefits under Plan 3799, boosted with a 2-day data roaming and P1,500 Consumable Allowance for roaming or even your favorite premium content such as Netflix and/or HBO Go.
Both Platinum ONE Plan 3799 and 4999 provide all-in priority service for your mobile and home internet, from the Platinum HOMESquad team of experts, Platinum digital assistant, THEA, the 24/7 worldwide concierge on Facebook Messenger, and an option to get one-to-one personalized servicing through our Platinum Relationship Manager.
They also come with a free KonsultaMD telehealth package, free 3GB GoWiFi every month, free 3-month access to HBO Go, Discovery+, Prime Video, and Viu, and one complimentary service visit from the Platinum Home Squad. Customers also earn 2x Globe Rewards points for their mobile and WiFi at home services.
In the next few months, subscribers can expect more exclusives from Platinum ONE Plan for connectivity enhancements, with more Fiber WiFi at home speed options of up to 800Mbps, a Mesh bundle, an exclusive Platinum ONE plan bundle with Fiber-to-the-Room (FTTR) technology, and an option to even upgrade your home to have a fully digital experience.
To learn more about Globe, visit www.globe.com.ph.