Testing Globe’s 700MHz Band 28 LTE using the O+ Sonic
Is the fabled speed bump as high as what we expect it to be? With the recent developments regarding the highly-regarded 700MHz frequency being divided and activated by two of the country’s top telco companies across the nation, we decided to test it out using one of the most affordable 700MHZ-equipped handsets today.
We tested out a spot in Quezon City where Globe Telecom is said to have a good 700MHZ frequency presence — Trinoma Mall in Quezon City. We also configured the phone, an O+ Sonic, to receive 4G signals only from the Band 28 spectrum to attain the most accurate results possible.
(Author’s note: We’re also using mobile data allocation from my own Globe myStarter Plan accounting to 200MB. We’ve also done this at night time — it’s the only time when I can pass by Quezon City on a weekday.)
Signal may take a while to refresh after tweaking the band settings, as it is a bit weak indoors. We had to take it out on the parking lot to get the most stable 4G signal. Several minutes in, we were able to get a decent 4G signal, and then started to take metrics from Ookla’s Speed Test mobile app. Here’s what we initially got after the first try:
The 28Mbps download speed is a far cry from the 100Mbps we’ve seen on press releases, but we think it’as a very decent speed for a mobile handset.
A few more speed tests in, and here are the results:
We noticed the gradual decrease in speed every other test result, as if we are being throttled down to 25Mbps. On the 7th test, our download speed does not go beyond 20Mbps but our upload speed is a lot higher as seen on the screenshots. It shot up back again at 21MBps, but succeeding ones remained at under the 20Mbps mark. Ping is constantly good, clocking in between 18ms to 25ms which is very high for wireless connection.
With these data, we can hypothesize these points:
• Globe is indeed using the Band 28 spectrum as its platform for 700MHz LTE connections. Our modified LTE receipt setting allowed the phone to acquire the mobile data signals only from the Band 28 platform. We did receive the 4G signals, but we were not able to lock it in especially when indoors.
• Globe allocates 20-30Mbps limit per customer connected on the 700MHz platform. Our initial speed test limited us to the range. We think that this may be due to the current user’s subscribed plan (volume-based allocation on MyStarter Plan) and could be higher for those browsing without any registered promo. This connection, when used in conjunction with other band frequencies available, can generate a higher speed for a better browsing experience.
• Globe may be throttling/capping the internet download speeds. One thing we noticed when we ran our tests in succession is our consistent upload speed. While the download decreases, the uploads were still consistent at 16-22Mbps. We think that the telecom’s Fair Use Policy is still in effect even when you consume volume-based mobile data, as it hampers download.
In a country where a stable and decent internet connection is an essential need for everyone, telco companies strive to cater to the best interests of the many. The addition of the 700MHz platform may be a welcome change for those longing for a faster mobile internet access. It may not be felt at first, but the effects on this, especially on devices that can access the said frequency, can put them in an advantage as the current spectrum is not that congested yet. On the other hand, this is also a challenge for telcos to improve their services and develop more ways to provide faster, stronger, and better internet access for the common Juan.
Do you own a 700MHz-equipped phone? How were your mobile internet browsing experiences? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the comments section below.
A/N: A big thank you to the folks at O+ USA for providing an O+ Sonic for this test.