Network Coverage and Signal Strength for Popular Mobile Carriers in the Philippines

A depiction of Mobile Phone Signal Strength.

In the Philippines, mobile phones are the lifeline of communication for over 149 million mobile subscribers, so having strong network coverage is crucial.

Imagine the hassle of a dropped call or a delayed text in the middle of an important conversation. For this reason, you need to choose a mobile carrier wisely. 

In line with that goal, this blog explores what mobile phone network coverage and signal strength are and examines the leading mobile carriers in the country so you can make an informed choice. 

What is Network Coverage and Signal Strength?

A depiction of slow Mobile Phone Signal Strength

Network coverage refers to the geographical area where a mobile carrier’s service is available. On the other hand, mobile phone signal strength gauges the quality of the connection within the covered area. 

Technically, you can measure signal strength in decibels relative to a milliwatt (dBm). The perfect standard is -30dBm, but it is rare.

For optimal performance, a range between -30dBm and -60dBm is desirable to ensure fast and reliable data delivery. 

You can check your phone’s signal strength using speed test apps. Alternatively, you can simply look at the signal bars at the top of your phone—the more bars you see, the stronger your signal.

If you use a mobile carrier with comprehensive network coverage, you can have uninterrupted service in urban and rural areas.

Conversely, if your carrier has limited coverage, you might experience signal loss in selected city parts, rural areas, or challenging terrains such as mountains and forests.

Types of Mobile Phone Signals 

You might notice signal symbols on your phone during Wi-Fi or mobile data use. Familiarizing yourself with them is essential for a smooth and reliable mobile experience.

  • GPRS (Global Packet Radio Service)

    This type was the first network connection for mobile phones using the global system for mobile communications or GSM—the technology that a SIM card employs to connect with a digital mobile network.

It’s usually indicated as “G” next to a phone’s signal bars. 

While it provides a basic form of mobile data, it’s relatively slower than more advanced technologies.

It typically reaches speeds between 40 Kbit/s to 50 Kbit/s. Smartphones with 3G or 4G service no longer offer GPRS. However, rural areas lacking advanced technology still use the latter.

  • EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) or E

    EDGE is an improvement over GPRS, offering faster data transfer speeds.

Smartphones today still use EDGE service, albeit as a last resort for connection. It’s not fast enough to provide internet access, but it can help you send texts and connect to calls at around 400 Kbit/s.

You can see it as “E” beside your signal bars.

  • 3G

    3G is a notable advancement in mobile communication, serving as a pivotal bridge between the earlier 2G technologies like GPRS and EDGE and the more advanced 4G networks.

    It offers faster data speeds for web browsing and video calling and has a crucial role in transitioning from the limitations of 2G to the more robust capabilities of subsequent generations.

It usually reaches speeds from 384 Kbit/s to 42 Mbit/s.

  • 4G

    Also known as Long Term Evolution or LTE, 4G brings even higher data speeds and improved network reliability.

It is the standard for high-speed wireless communication, enabling smoother video streaming, online gaming, and other data-intensive applications. It can reach speeds of up to 1 Gbit/s.

The impact of this signal generation is phenomenal.

Its improved network capacity and efficiency make 4G pivotal in developing the Internet of Things (IoT), where everyday devices like smart homes and wearables communicate with each other.

4G precedes the 5G generation of mobile technology, which promises even greater speeds and a wider range of applications.

  • 5G

    The latest mobile technology, 5G, delivers significantly faster data speeds, lower latency, and support for numerous connected devices.

Due to its enhanced capabilities, it can revolutionize healthcare, transportation, smart cities, etc.

Its speed is between 10 Gbit/s and 20 Gbit/s, surpassing Wi-Fi networks. Suffice it to say that 5G, up to this point, is the ultimate end product of years of hard work and continuous development.

Currently, 5G is the peak of mobile phone signal performance and a benchmark for future developments.

Network Coverage and Signal Strength of Philippine Mobile Carriers 

The three leading mobile carriers in the Philippines vary in area coverage and signal strengths.

  • DITO Telecommunity

    DITO primarily provides 4G services throughout the Philippines. Currently, it deploys 5G services in selected regions and cities, including Metro Manila, Batangas, Bacolod, Cebu, and Davao.

    This carrier has the distinction of offering the most consistent, high-quality network coverage. Also, it has the fastest increase in download speeds (32.3%) compared to Smart (12.7%) and Globe (14.8%).

  • Globe Telecom

    Globe mainly offers 4G and 4G+ services nationwide, save for a few rural areas in the Cordillera Administrative Region, Cagayan Valley, and Soccsksargen.

    Similar to DITO, Globe is in the process of rolling out 5G services nationwide. It’s available in select regions and cities such as Metro Manila, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Laguna, Batangas, Cebu, Iloilo, Davao Del Sur, and Agusan Del Norte.

    Globe offers the best experience for video streams, multiplayer mobile games, and voice apps on all signal types compared to the other mobile carriers.

5 Tips to Boost Mobile Phone Signal Strength

Signal loss can occur even in areas with network coverage. Here are some ways to enhance your mobile phone’s signal strength.


1. Restart your phone

When moving around, your phone tries to find the best cell tower signal. However, sometimes, the transition between towers isn’t perfect, leading to a weaker signal.

Also, like a computer, your phone’s software can have temporary issues that affect its ability to connect to a network smoothly.

In such instances, you should restart your phone to resolve these temporary hitches and ensure a more robust and reliable signal.

In some cases, restarting your device allows it to return to its default setting, which can help achieve optimum performance for mobile phone signal strength.

2. Clean or buy a new SIM card

Over time, SIM cards can endure wear and tear. Constant insertions and ejections can cause the gold contacts on the chip to misalign or be damaged.

Dust, pocket lint, and other debris can also accumulate on these contacts, creating a physical barrier that disrupts the signal transmission.

These seemingly minor issues can have major consequences for your mobile experience.

Hence, you should clean your SIM card or invest in a new one for your device and network to have a smooth and secure connection. A SIM card replacement can also potentially enhance signal reliability.

3. Check your frequency bands

Frequency bands refer to the specific radio frequencies allocated for wireless communication. In the context of mobile networks, different signals use distinct frequency bands.

Checking if your phone supports your carrier’s frequency bands can optimize compatibility and improve signal strength.

All you need to do is go to your phone’s settings and look for “Network Information” for Android or “Cellular” or “Network” for Apple.

4. Check for software updates

As a large number of Filipinos use smartphones, outdated software can contribute to signal issues.

For this reason, you should regularly update your phone’s software to equip it with the latest enhancements and optimizations that can address signal strength issues and improve overall performance.

If your mobile phone can no longer accept software updates, you should consider buying a new one that can handle the unique features of modern signal enhancements.

5. Use a cellphone signal booster

A signal booster or repeater captures, amplifies, and redistributes cell tower signals within a designated area.

Additionally, it boosts and transmits the signal a phone emits back to the cell tower for improved connectivity.

This device is particularly beneficial in remote or low-signal areas, ensuring a consistent mobile experience.

Just remember to get an NTC-authorized booster, as signal boosters must comply with the law and not interfere with the cellular network’s operation.

Don’t Let a Weak Signal Get in the Way

In a world where staying connected is vital, your telecommunication service provider can make all the difference.

A reliable network ensures that every text and call is hassle-free, which is crucial for personal and professional connections.

Consider the points above when choosing the suitable mobile carrier for your needs and boosting your phone signal strength. With the right choice, you invest in dependable communication.

If you’re looking for a reliable telecommunications service provider, look no further than Semaphore. We offer trusted SMS marketing for businesses, helping you reach customers and make every message count. 

Check out our SMS services to learn more.

Telcos with the Most Subscribers in the Philippines

Depiction of Telecom in the Phiilippines

Despite the rise of various messaging platforms, the enduring popularity of SMS keeps the Philippines at the forefront of global communication trends. Often dubbed the “Text Capital of the World,” the Philippines’ annual volume of text exchanges is phenomenal. 

According to SMS statistics, each mobile user in the country sends roughly 600 text messages monthly. This figure underlines the nation’s deep connection with mobile communication.

Read on to learn more about the telecommunications scene in the Philippines, including the key players that push its boundaries.

What to Consider When Choosing a Telecom Company

Depiction of Telecom towers.

Subscribing to the best telecom company in the Philippines lets you enjoy exemplary mobile services. The following are major considerations when selecting a telecom service provider.

1. Device compatibility and contract terms 

Coverage isn’t the only factor to consider when selecting a telecommunications provider in the Philippines. You must also find the right match for your device and lifestyle.

So, consider your device’s compatibility with the provider’s network when narrowing your list.

For instance, a provider’s network may not support the frequency bands required for your phone to access its fastest data speeds.

In such cases, you may experience slower internet connectivity at possibly a fraction of what your device can handle. This incompatibility may also affect the quality of calls or the reliability of messaging services.

When it comes to contract terms, the more flexible they are, the better. Some providers advertise enticing deals on the latest smartphones but tie you into lengthy contracts or high subscription plans.

The goal is to ensure the contract terms align with your usage patterns to avoid deals you do not benefit from.

2. Customer service and support

Reliable customer service should be non-negotiable, especially in terms of addressing connection concerns ASAP. Look for a Philippine telecom company that takes customer concerns seriously.

Responsive and helpful customer support can turn a potential headache—whether a quick query or a more complex issue—into a smooth resolution. 

3. Plan options and pricing 

Telecom providers offer a vast range of subscription plans. These choices can complicate your decision-making.

So, evaluate your usage patterns—from heavy data streaming to frequent calls or a mix of both—before signing up for a mobile service. 

Ideally, your chosen plan caters to your needs without unnecessary frills. Remember, the best plan isn’t always the most expensive one. The most important thing is it perfectly aligns with your communication requirements.

4. Coverage and network quality

Dropped calls and sluggish internet speed can be frustrating. Fortunately, you can avoid these issues by assessing a provider’s coverage and network quality to ensure uninterrupted service, even in remote areas.

Then, look for a telecom provider that offers quality international roaming options to keep you connected anywhere.

Telecommunications Companies with the Most Subscribers in the Philippines 

A handful of key players dominate the telecommunications scene in the Philippines, each contributing significantly to the nation’s texting demands.

Here are the biggest telecom companies in the Philippines providing mobile phone services.

1. DITO Telecommunity

DITO Telecommunity is one of the newest entrants in the Philippine telecom scene that’s rapidly gaining attention and adoption since it launched in 2021.

As of August 2022, this telecom provider has 12 million subscribers nationwide. DITO’s commitment is to provide fast and reliable connectivity.

Amid the company’s aggressive expansion strategies and promises of high-speed internet access to underserved areas, you can expect its subscriber base to increase further. 

2. Smart Communications

As a PLDT subsidiary, Smart Communications is a prominent player in the Philippine telecom industry. Smart caters to a vast subscriber base that includes Talk’ N Text and Sun Cellular users.

As of March 2023, Smart has approximately 65 million subscribers. The telecom company also holds a substantial portion of the market share with its voice, messaging, and data services.

The synergy between its subsidiaries allows Smart to offer user-friendly plans for its subscribers.

For instance, Talk ‘N Text makes call and text affordable for budget-conscious audiences. Meanwhile, Sun Cellular focuses on providing value-for-money mobile and data services.

3. Globe Telecom 

Globe Telecom is another telecommunications giant in the Philippines that has carved its name in the industry.

The company’s diverse product offerings range from traditional mobile services to digital solutions, such as its affordable TM prepaid services and GCash mobile wallet. 

Globe’s mobile subscribers reached 86 million in 2022. As a leader in the country’s telecom market, Globe constantly addresses the evolving needs of a tech-savvy consumer base. 

4. NOW Telecom 

While NOW Telecom has yet to launch its services officially to the public, it’s making waves in the enterprise sector. NOW distinguishes itself in the market by providing robust communication solutions tailored for businesses.

Its partnership with the Silicon Valley company Celona Inc. is vital to the telecom provider’s goal of delivering enterprise-grade 5G solutions across industries.

NOW is also considering taking things to the next level as the company gears up for its official consumer services launch in 2024. You can then expect the telecom landscape in the country to advance further.

Navigating the Telecommunications Scene in the Philippines

Indeed, telecommunications in the Philippines remains strong despite the rise of digital messaging platforms.

Thanks to telcos, connectivity is more dynamic than ever. From seasoned telco giants to emerging new players, the country’s telecom providers shake up the industry.

As the country’s telecommunication landscape evolves, choosing a mobile service provider for your business becomes essential.

Semaphore’s solution comes in the form of trusted SMS marketing for businesses to help your company stand out in the mobile texting landscape. 

Discover what we can offer to your SMS campaigns, or avail of our services today.

Understanding the SIM Card Registration Act in the Philippines

A depiction of SIM Cards.

Despite cybersecurity’s presence and continuous advancement, digital threats remain rampant in the Philippines.

The first half of 2023 alone saw a 152% increase in cybercrimes—significantly more than the same period from the previous year. Fortunately, the government introduced the SIM Card Registration Act to curb these nefarious activities.

You might wonder, “What is the SIM Card Registration Act in the Philippines? This article will discuss what it is, its pros and cons, and how to register your SIM card to enjoy its advantages.

What is the Philippines’ SIM Card Registration Act?

The SIM Registration Act (R.A. 11934) mandates mobile users in the Philippines to register their Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards before activation to mitigate cybercrimes, including phishing, fraud, threats, and cyberbullying.

Postpaid subscribers must only confirm their registration with telecommunications companies, while prepaid users must register through their providers’ online portals.

The law went into effect on Dec. 27, 2022, and gave users until July 30, 2023, to register their SIMs. Failure to do so would result in their SIM’s deactivation.

If you purchased a SIM card after the registration deadline, you still need to register it, with the added condition that you provide identification documentation for activation.

How to Register Your SIM Card

Presenting SIM cards.

Every telecom company’s SIM registration process is pretty straightforward and has the same requirements, with slight variations depending on your provider.

According to the Act, you must be at least 18 years old to register your SIM. If you’re a minor, you should ask your parent or guardian to do it for you. 

Here’s a quick rundown of the steps to follow.

1. Prepare the requirements, including your personal information, and connect your unregistered SIM card to a mobile phone. Some telco service providers may require you to submit a clear selfie or a photo of your valid government ID.

2. Visit your service provider’s registration portal. Here are the links for your convenience:

For DITO users, you’ll have to register your SIM from their mobile app, which is downloadable from Google Play or Apple App Store.

3. Enter your mobile number on the portal or app, then proceed. Your telco will send you an SMS containing a one-time PIN (OTP) to verify your identity. Input the OTP in the appropriate field.

4. Fill out your personal details on the provided online form, including your:

  • Full name 
  • Address
  • Date of birth
  • Gender

5. Provide a selfie or a photo of your valid government ID to confirm your details and identity. Here are some of the accepted IDs for your reference:

  • Passport
  • PhilID
  • SSS ID
  • Driver’s License
  • NBI Clearance
  • Senior Citizen ID
  • UMID
  • Postal ID
  • Student ID (for those in university/college)

6. Confirm your details. You’ll receive an automated call or SMS from your telco regarding your registration status. If done correctly, you will receive a message that your SIM registration was successful.

Benefits and Drawbacks of the SIM Card Registration Act in the Philippines

Mandatory SIM card registration offers numerous benefits. However, it’s also essential to know its disadvantages and concerns.


  • Enhances the security of SIM card data

As mentioned, the law’s primary goal is to improve the country’s cybersecurity.

Mandating the registration of personal information associated with each SIM card allows the government to create a comprehensive database of mobile phone users—a powerful tool for tracing criminal activities involving mobile devices.

  • Prevents SMS and phone scams

Cybercriminals exploit unregistered and untraceable SIM cards for SMS scams and smishing attacks.

However, since this law requires users to provide personal information to register, it becomes a deterrent to such illicit practices.

It eliminates scammers’ anonymity, making it easier for law enforcement to identify and apprehend them.

  • Provides opportunities for the unbanked

Nowadays, mobile phones are essential tools for financial transactions. Filipinos without access to traditional banking services primarily rely on mobile platforms like GCash and Maya.

By registering their SIM cards, they can gain easier access to these financial services and enjoy a secure and convenient way to save and send money.


  • Possibly infringes upon the privacy and rights of Filipino citizens

While the law aims to enhance cybersecurity, the mandatory collection of personal information raises questions about proper data handling and potential misuse.

Privacy advocates argue that the government must implement robust safeguards to ensure it handles user data exclusively for its intended purpose and isn’t vulnerable to abuse.

  • Presents big consequences in the event of a data breach

A centralized database containing sensitive personal information poses a considerable risk during a data breach.

Take the recent cybersecurity attack on PhilHealth, for example, wherein hackers compromised millions of members’ data.

If security measures fail like this event, the consequences could be severe and lead to potential misuse of vast amounts of personal data.

  • Excludes those unable to register their SIM cards

Technical issues, social limitations, or physical disability may prevent mobile subscribers from registering.

For instance, some people don’t have valid government IDs to confirm their identity, hindering them from registering their SIM cards. 

Improve Your SIM Card Security

The continuous occurrence of cybercrimes proves that digitization doesn’t equate to complete security. Fortunately, despite its drawbacks, the SIM Card Registration Act is an excellent step toward cybersecurity.

Time will tell whether the government’s efforts can achieve its goals of cutting down on SMS and phone scams down the line.

Enhance your SMS security with Semaphore, a trusted SMS marketing for businesses in the Philippines.

We can help your organization deliver mobile messages instantly with a single line of code, making your SMS campaigns more convenient than ever.

Check our services today!