Singapore tops in mobile data speeds: Report

With the median mobile data download speed hitting 21,870kbps in Singapore, consumers here would generally be able to use data-intensive applications without experiencing lag.
With the median mobile data download speed hitting 21,870kbps in Singapore, consumers here would generally be able to use data-intensive applications without experiencing lag.ST FILE PHOTO

It leads competition in region, helped by usage of high-speed LTE networks

Singapore has the fastest mobile data speeds in the South-east Asia (SEA) and Oceania region, according to a report by communications technology and services provider Ericsson.

The Ericsson Mobility Report placed Singapore ahead of countries such as Australia and Thailand, which came in second and third respectively. Vietnam came in last among the nine countries surveyed in the region.

The median download speed using mobile data in Singapore was 21,870kbps, which the report noted was boosted by the usage of high-speed LTE networks here.

The median download speed in Australia was 11,190kbps, and in Thailand it was 2,380kbps.

This means that in Singapore and Australia, mobile data speeds are sufficient for consumers using data-intensive applications such as video streaming. Video calls would also be smooth. In Thailand, however, users may face lag when using such applications.

Singapore's median mobile data speed was also faster than that in South Korea, where the median speed was less than 10,000kbps, and in Japan, where the median speed was less than 5,000kbps.

The analysis was conducted on data gathered from Ookla's Speedtest.net, which is a tool consumers can use to test the speed of their Internet connections. The report, released in June, did not say how many people were surveyed.

The report also highlighted trends in smartphone application usage. In Singapore and Malaysia, the popular messaging service WhatsApp was the most used smartphone app, while in Indonesia and Thailand, users turned to messaging services BlackBerry Messenger and Line respectively.

Analysts The Straits Times spoke to said that it was no surprise that Singapore came out tops.

Mr Dustin Kehoe, Asia-Pacific head of telecommunications practice at International Data Corporation, said that the Republic's compact city-state profile gives it an advantage when it comes to mobile data speeds.

He said: "It is no surprise that mobile data speeds in Singapore are the top in the region. Singapore is a very tech-savvy country and is more built-up, as compared with countries like Australia and Malaysia, which have more rural areas.

"So logistically, it is easier to be the first to deploy new software and technologies."

However, Mr Kehoe cautioned that mobile network operators need to be on the ball when it comes to upgrading and managing their networks, as customer data usage is increasing rapidly with the popularity of video streaming and data-heavy applications.

One heavy mobile data user who is thankful for a speedy data connection is Ms Au Yeong Yeen Seen, 26.

The senior associate at SGX uses her smartphone to watch YouTube videos when she commutes.

She said: "It's rare that videos pause or lag. It is only at places like Bugis and Outram MRT, the underground stations, that the videos will sometimes buffer."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore tops in mobile data speeds: Report'. Print Edition | Subscribe