It’s no surprise that internet in Southeast Asia hasn’t caught up with 2018 standards. Based on several OpenSignal reports throughout the years, the region still rattles out poor ratings in 4G availability and speed.
Sadly, the most recent report shows more of the same. Though improving in reliability, internet in the region is still the slowest in the world.
The data was collected from over 4.8 million devices and almost 59 billion measurements throughout October to December last year.
The latest findings, which show definite improvements over last year’s results, offers eye-opening insights about the current state of 4G internet and its uncertain future.
South Korea still on top, but stumbles in speed
As with previous years, it’s no surprise that Singapore and South Korea dominate the boards once again. The world’s prime destination for eSports tops 4G availability; internet users in South Korea enjoy 4G connections for 97.49 percent of the time — a huge feat when around half of the recorded nations struggle to move past the 75 percent mark. Unfortunately, the country falls off a bit in terms of speed. Whereas the previous report clocked speeds of 43.46Mbps, this report measures a lower but still speedy 40.44Mbps.
On the other hand, Singapore tops the rankings for speed again with 44.31Mbps. Also, the country slightly improved their reliability at 84.43 percent.
The Philippines improves, but still a lower-tier country
Learning from their years-long stint at the bottom of the rankings, the Philippines finally improves their rankings with a marked upgrade on reliability. From a paltry 52.77 percent last year, the archipelagic nation now enjoys 63.73 percent 4G availability. As a result, the Philippines is no longer in the bottom 10 nations of the world, but is still the third lowest in Asia.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about the country’s speed. Despite an upgrade (from 8.59Mbps to 9.49Mbps), the Philippines is the fourth slowest country in the world (and third slowest in Asia). This year’s ranking is also slightly worse than last year’s list where the country placed as only the fifth slowest.
India barely moves up
Despite a brilliant showing in 4G availability, India still holds the unfortunate title of “slowest 4G internet in the world.” Indian internet speeds average only 6.07Mbps. The sub-par speeds slightly improved from last year’s showing, which only clocked in 5.14Mbps. This may be attributed to India’s status as one of the most populous nations in the world. On the bright side, the South Asian country marginally improved its reach — 86.26 percent from 81.56 percent last year.
4G internet speeds are plateauing
4G technology started in 2010. Since then, countries continue to edge closer but miss the vaunted 50Mbps mark. As of 2018, it’s safe to assume that everyone’s hitting the hay in the hunt for speed. Most, if not all, upgrades in speed this year were marginal at best. With the apparent plateau, the world focused on providing more reliable 4G internet across the globe. Countries fared better in improving their 4G reliability.
Too little, too late?
5G is just on the horizon. Tech companies are already pushing for 5G-compatible devices; 5G will soon obliterate the 4G speed plateau. With a more efficient solution coming, we should ask whether the race for the best 4G service shows an alarming trend.
Before we know it, the race to the best 5G network will kick off. Developed countries already have a leg up. Unfortunately, those who trailed in the 4G race will fall behind even further as 5G passes them by. Even if 5G will be easy to implement, the lack of reliable 4G in developing countries will only widen the gap between 5G-ready and 4G-ready countries.
US government will be banned from using Huawei and ZTE tech
Not a total ban, though
The president of the United States has just imposed a major ban against two Chinese tech giants, Huawei and ZTE, from working with the US government. The ban is a component of the Defense Authorization Act which US President Donald Trump has just signed after months of discussions.
We first heard news about the bill earlier this month followed by reports of Huawei spying on people and ZTE getting banned after getting accused of selling merchandise to US rivals. The fiasco hindered Huawei phones from getting sold through US carriers. ZTE, on the other hand, was saved by Trump as confirmed by his tweet.
In the end, though, both Chinese companies now have the same fate. The US Congress worked on a measure that will essentially ban the US government and soon-to-be allies from using components and availing services from Huawei, ZTE, and a number of other Chinese communications companies.
The ban, which will go into effect over the next two years, doesn’t completely cut the ties of the US with Huawei and ZTE. The Chinese companies are not allowed to be part of any “essential” or “critical” systems of the US government, but they can still work with the US government as long as they will not be used to route or view data.
Huawei is not happy about the ban, of course, and calls it a “random addition” to the defense bill which is “ineffective, misguided, and unconstitutional.” The company also said that the ban will increase cost for consumers and businesses.
Via: The Verge
Samsung falls to less than one percent market share in China
Might pull out of Chinese market by next year
Recently, Samsung launched the Galaxy Note 9 to worldwide acclaim. Ironically, despite the positive response, the company is still slogging through one of its most dismal years to date. Previously, the Galaxy S9 opened to tepid, abysmal sales.
Now, with the dawn of more capable competitors, Samsung is falling more drastically than ever before. Formerly a stalwart in China, the company has now fallen to less than one percent market share in one of the world’s biggest markets.
Just a few years ago, Samsung’s phones captured a comfortable market share lead at 20 percent. The huge lead accurately represented Samsung’s grip on the market at the time.
However, with the recent developments (or lack thereof), the balance of power is steadily shifting. This year, gigantic (but more affordable) outings from smaller companies — Huawei, OnePlus, OPPO, Xiaomi — have taken the market by storm.
Besides the downpour of competitive rivals, Samsung has cited the decline of the smartphone market at large as a reason. From the lack of revolutionary features, adoption and upgrade rates have declined, causing an overall plateauing of phone sales.
According to Reuters, Samsung is considering drastic measures to alleviate the slump in sales. Most radically, the company might pull out of the Chinese market entirely.
Specifically, the plan affects Samsung’s Tianjin factory in Northern China. On its own, the facility manufactures 36 million phones per year. Additionally, Samsung has other plants nearby in Huizhou and Vietnam.
Currently, Samsung officials have yet to decide on the Chinese market’s ultimate fate. However, the pull-out is still a tempting move to improve efficiency.
Regardless, Samsung will remain as a global powerhouse even if it withdraws from the Chinese market. If anything, the move will dictate the company’s (and its Chinese competitors’) trajectory for the future.
Besides Samsung, Apple has also fared similarly, bowing out to Chinese brands in multiple markets.
EU might force Apple to abandon the Lightning cable
Voting yes for a USB-powered iPhone
Recently, the EU has gone on a mass crusade against the world’s biggest tech firms. To the benefit of the region’s consumers, the European Commission is trying to create a universally competitive industry.
In 2009, the EU has urged tech firms to create a more universal standard for smartphone charging. At the time, fourteen companies including Apple and Samsung signed the pledge.
However, as you can probably guess, these efforts fell terribly flat. Companies have still segmented the industry into a plethora of charger options — micro-USB, USB Type-C, and Lightning, for starters.
Irked by the lack of results, EU Commissioner of Competition Margrethe Vestager has taken matters into her own hands. The Commission is researching if additional regulations can rescue the industry.
Currently, the EU is concerned over the rising number of wasted chargers and cables. Because of the different standards, users are forced to shelve their old cables to accommodate phone upgrades.
Among the affected companies, Apple has created the most disparity. Notoriously, the company has stuck with its own exclusive cables. Whereas its competitors have relied on USB standards, Apple has used FireWire, the dock connector, and the Lightning cable.
Apple’s exclusivity creates an advantageous but unfair revenue stream for the company. Users are forced to source their cables from the company directly (or indirectly through licensed products).
As such, any future EU regulations will likely affect Apple the most. From a consumer’s standpoint, Apple switching to USB will please users the most.
Even without the regulation, a USB-powered iPhone is still plausible. Previously, Apple had already considered a break from Lightning before releasing the iPhone X.
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