Concerns over internet speeds in the Philippines are certainly nothing new, so it is of little surprise that the talk of the town recently has been the announcement by Telstra International Limited that they would be bringing their highly sophisticated operation to our shores at some time in the coming year.
At the time of this writing, very little information has been officially made available by Telstra, so the majority of the buzz on the streets is purely anecdotal or conjecture, but with the challenge being made to the current ISPs that are leading the market, it’s a point of considerable hope that they will, at the very least, buck up their ideas in order to ensure that Telstra do not simply waltz into the Philippine market while being given free range to mount a successful and aggressive challenge for a significant portion of the market share.
Competition here has long been divided between a small handful of well-established companies, seemingly with little motivation outside of customer complaints to cease apparent limitations imposed on consumer internet services. Partnering with the San Miguel Corporation, Telstra plans to invest up to US$1 billion in order to obtain the 40% share on the joint venture with San Miguel, which is the maximum share allowed under Philippine law for such an industry.
Certain media outlets have been speculating that the joint venture will be focusing more on wireless long term evolution (LTE) network technology, which would be considered ideal for such a push given the geographical nature of the Philippine archipelago, but any improvement to the current services on offer are likely to be widely applauded by consumers. Average internet download speeds here are reported to be around just 3.64 Mbps, leaving us languishing in 21st place on a list of 22 Asian nations. (Considering that Afghanistan is in last place, and the fact that the country has been at war for the last 14 years, we might as well consider ourselves in last place.) The Philippines also falls far behind countries such as South Korea (25.3 Mbps), Hong Kong (16.3 Mbps) and Japan (15 Mbps).
Telstra’s JV with San Miguel offers a brilliant light at the end of this telecommunications tunnel, and those in the industry, and particularly those who have to rely on such low download speeds here in the Philippines (the international average being around 3.9 Mbps), have good reason to be excited about the future of the telecommunications industry in this ever developing nation.