Internet in the Philippines: Why Is It Slow and Expensive?

Published: October 9, 2020 | Updated: October 19, 2020 | Posted by: Moneymax | Lifestyle

Internet in the Philippines: Why is it Slow and Expensive? | Moneymax

Filipinos need internet connectivity more than ever as most professionals are now working from home and as students start taking their classes online. However, the internet in the Philippines remains unreliable. Most people find their connection slow, unavailable, and quite frustrating. Why is that so?

How Fast is Philippine Internet?

According to an Ookla Speedtest in August 2020[1], the Philippines ranked at the lower part of the global index in terms of average broadband and mobile speeds. At 16.44Mbps for mobile downloads, the country landed the 199th spot out of 139. With 25.34Mbps for broadband, we landed at the 106th place out of 174.

Here’s how internet in the Philippines fair as compared to other countries:

Philippines Internet Speed vs Other Countries

CountryAverage Mobile Download SpeedAverage Broadband Download Speed
South Korea113.01Mbps218.07Mbps
New Zealand55.66Mbps129.97Mbps
Sri Lanka19.86Mbps30.35Mbps

The results aren’t surprising and just re-affirms Filipinos’ internet woes. However, it’s a far cry from South Korea’s 113.01Mbps speed for mobile downloads and Singapore’s 218.07Mbps for broadband downloads.

For the full list of speed test results, click here.

What is the NTC’s Role When it Comes to Internet Speed?

Now, where does the National Telecommunications Commission or NTC come in?

The NTC ensures the accuracy of the internet speed being delivered to consumers in the Philippines. Together with the House Committee on Information and Communications Technology, the NTC has to make sure that the internet speed we receive is true to what is advertised.

As of 2018, the Philippines has nearly 17,000 cell sites, while neighboring countries like Indonesia and Vietnam have 91,000 and 70,000 cell towers, respectively. This is according to a study from Globe.

As we shift to online classes and work-from-home schemes, the NTC is again gaining criticism for the slow internet speed in the Philippines.

The Price of Internet in the Philippines

Despite having the second cheapest mobile data per gig in the Asia Pacific[2], the internet in the Philippines also remains quite expensive. In the Digital Quality of Life Index 2020[3], the Philippines lands at the 82nd place, out of 85 spots in terms of internet affordability.

The study also reveals that it takes 1,994 seconds of work to get the cheapest mobile internet and 75 minutes of work to afford the cheapest broadband internet in the country.

Here’s how our internet prices fair with other countries. Prices were converted to Philippine peso with a conversion of 1 USD = PHP 50 for better appreciation:

CountryPrice per 100Mbps Plan
South Africa$87.24 (PHP 4,362)
Iceland$69.05 (PHP 3,452)
Canada$62.36 (PHP 3,118)
Philippines$56.24 (PHP 2,812)
United States of America$50 (PHP 2,500)
Germany$46.92 (PHP 2,346)
Indonesia$44.57 (PHP 2,228)
Mexico$34.68 (PHP 1,734)
Malaysia$29.08 (PHP 1,454)
Thailand$20.23 (PHP 1,011) 
Hong Kong$18.89 (PHP 944)
India$16.66 (PHP 833)
China$11.52 (PHP 576)
Hungary$10.32 (PHP 516)
Ukraine$6.19 (PHP 309)

Read more: How to Find the Best Broadband Plan for You

So Why is Internet in the Philippines Expensive?

internet in the philippines - why is it expensive

The country has over 7,000 islands making it difficult to construct fixed networks.

In addition, the process of building cell towers is extremely time-consuming and hard. You need to get to layers of bureaucracy before a permit is approved. First, you need to get a permit from the barangay where the cell tower will be built then you would need to get various permits at the city or municipal level. You also need another set of permits and approvals from various national agencies.

On average, 25 to 30 permits from Local Government Units (LGUs) are needed to build just one cell site[4]. The process also takes approximately eight months.

In other countries, governments actively invest in ICT infrastructures to provide better internet service to their citizens. While the Philippine government is doing its part to improve every Filipino’s connectivity, much of the burden is still carried by the private sector.

Additionally, there are only two major internet companies in the country. Despite having various internet service providers, PLDT and Globe still have the biggest market share. In fact, Globe hits an all-time high market share of 84.4% in the first quarter of 2019 for its home broadband[5].

In August, the House of Representative granted DITO Telecommunity a 25-year franchise[7], allowing the company to operate in the country. The China-led company is said to be the third telco company that will the long-standing telco monopoly in the country.

Will the presence of a third major telco in the country solve our internet woes? We’ve yet to find out.

List of Internet Providers in the Philippines

internet in the philippines - internet philippines provider

Sure, the internet in the Philippines is slow and expensive, but we take what we can get. Here are the top internet service providers in the country:


One of the two major telcos in the country, PLDT offers DSL and Fibr internet plans for as low as PHP 999 a month. They also offer Fibr Plus plans which include mesh technology and Cignal HDTV.

PLDT DSL and Fibr Plans:

PLDT DSL Unlimited Plan1MbpsUnlimitedPHP 999
PLDT DSL FamPlan3MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,299
PLDT Home Unli Fibr 129910MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,299
PLDT Home Unli Fibr 169925MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,699
PLDT Home Unli Fibr 239950MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,399
PLDT Home Unli Fibr 2999100MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,999
PLDT Fibr Plus Plan 249950MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,499
PLDT Fibr Plus Plan 3099100MbpsUnlimitedPHP 3,099
PLDT Fibr Plus Plan 4099150MbpsUnlimitedPHP 4,099

Read more:  Complete Guide to PLDT Plans for Your Internet Needs

 2. Globe

Globe offers broadband and LTE internet services for as low as PHP 1,299 for 10Mbps. The telco company also offers broadband internet plans with no-lock up periods.

Globe Broadband and LTE Plans:

Globe At Home Go Big LTE 129910Mps150GBPHP 1,299
Globe At Home Go Big LTE 159910Mbps500GBPHP 1,599
Globe At Home Go Big 169920Mbps600GBPHP 1,699
Globe At Home Go Big 189950MBps600GBPHP 1,899
Globe At Home Unli 169920MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,699
Globe At Home Unli 189930MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,899
Globe At Home Unli 249950MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,499
Globe At Home Unli 2899100MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,899

  3. Converge ICT

Converge offers competitive and affordable internet plans that can rival both PLDT and Globe. For as low as PHP 1,500 you get 25Mbps and unlimited download per month.

Converge Broadband Plans:

Fiber X 150025MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,500
Fiber X 250075MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,500
Fiber X 3500150MbpsUnlimitedPHP 3,500
Fiber Xtreme 4500300MbpsUnlimitedPHP 4,500
iBiz 1010MbpsUnlimitedPHP 4,000
iBiz 2020MbpsUnlimitedPHP 6,000
iBiz 3030MbpsUnlimitedPHP 9,000

4. One SKY

SKY Cable is the top cable TV provider in the country. They offer cable TV and internet plans for as low as PHP 999.

SKY Broadband Internet Plans:

SKY Fiber Unli Broadband 99910MbpsUnlimitedPHP 999
SKY Fiber Unli Broadband 149925MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,499
SKY Fiber Unli Broadband 199950MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,999
SKY Fiber Unli Broadband 249975MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,499
SKY Fiber Unli Broadband 2899100MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,899
SKY Fiber Unli Broadband 3499150MbpsUnlimitedPHP 3,499
SKY Fiber Unli Broadband + Home WiFi 179930MbpsUnlimitedPHP 1,799
SKY Fiber Unli Broadband + Home WiFi 279960MbpsUnlimitedPHP 2,799
SKY Fiber Unli Broadband + Home WiFi 3799120MbpsUnlimitedPHP 3,799

Read more:

Final Thoughts

These days, fast and reliable internet is essential. While the internet in the Philippines continues to be one of the slowest and most expensive globally, new technologies are on their way to make Filipinos more connected than ever. Until they reach our soil, let’s keep our fingers crossed a better internet connection in the Philippines.

Use your credit card to settle your utility bills!