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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.

globe-700MHz

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:

speedtest1

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.

globe-700MHz2

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. 



Get in touch with Carl at @lamielcarl on Twitter or visit his website for more updates!

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16 Responses

  1. kennz says:

    Globe signal in Trinoma is pretty weak. Sure you may get good signal at the Garden but elsewhere its pretty weak. Like say the bridge between SM north and Trinoma. Mostly along the lines of North Avenue the signal is edge or Nil. The EDSA side from Paramount to the new Ayala CBD is the same. The Mall and Globe are supposed to be owned by the Ayalas yet their data coverage is pretty weak. If you were to be standing in line with the hundreds of people in the Jeepney and UVExpress Terminal in Trinoma you would experience the same thing aweful data coverage.

    • Carl Lamiel says:

      I started to get a 4G signal at the Landmark food court area, but the best signal so far is just outside the Trinoma mall entrance facing SM North EDSA, before I headed down the stairs to the UV Express / jeepney terminal.

  2. Stephen Rey says:

    Cherry Mobile Flare s4 has LTE Band 28.

  3. Don says:

    Your methodology is missing a reference result. You should have had tested out using another a non-700Mhz compatible LTE device. Or even using 3G only in order to show that the speed you obtained is related to the specific band that you used since you can also achieve those speeds not only from 700Mhz LTE.

  4. NotASheep says:

    You’ll need to test this in another month to see how much they keep splitting the bandwidth to accommodate thousands of users on the same signal, otherwise this isn’t consistent nor proof of their reliability.

  5. Jose says:

    Globe and Smart are all talk and no substance period! The 700mhz frequency bought from San Miguel should be equally shared with a third player.

  6. red says:

    Did you disable all other bands except for band 28 via Mediatek’s Engineer mode? Globe’s first publicly announced 700MHz cellsite in QC is at 14.644262, 121.070559 (check google maps) with 2.2 km radius. From that point to Trinoma is at 4km. Though you might be getting that 700MHz from another nearby cell site?

  7. Mario says:

    Can you show the settings/configuration set on the O+ Sonic? Commercial phones don’t normally have an option to lack on certain frequency – so far, only Samsung does. Also, please do it on other 700 MHz capable phone as well.

    • Carl Lamiel says:

      You can actually select band frequencies you wish to use on a list of enabled ones if you have access to your phone’s Engineer Mode. MediaTek’s EM menu can be accessed by dialing *#*#3646663#*#*. We’re lucky it worked with O+, as other Mediatek-equipped smartphones from other brands restrict access to it.

    • Install the Android app – MTK Engineering Mode.

  8. PJ Chris says:

    Hindi ba umiinit? Kasi yung cm flare a3 mag hang na after couple of dl test. Speed tested on cm flare a3 87.48Mbps DL/23.07Mbps UL Davao City

  9. PJ Chris says:

    Anong mga LTE band yung pwede i check sa Engineering mode?

  10. nawinzon says:

    Mga boss magagamit ba yung mga 4G LTE na pocket wifi kahit di siya 700mhz dito sa Pilipinas especially sa Visayas? Kung bibili ako neto http://www.lazada.com.ph/tp-link-m7350-4g-lte-mobile-pocket-wifi-14328957.html?spm=a2o4l.category-020707000000.0.0.S8OOHQ&ff=1&sc=ERcU&rb=624 … magagamit ko po ba ito sa 700mhz na signal ? Salamt po sa reply …

  11. William says:

    I’m using an iPhone 6S that is LTE B28 compatible. Living in Makati (Brgy Valenzuela) I can only get LTE 41 (2496-2690 MHz) and the signal drops as soon as I get into the apartment. Would I need to change my SIM to get LTE B28? I still remember having to change sim just to get LTE at one time when I had the iPhone 5.

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