Choosing a mobile provider in the Philippines can seem daunting with over 100 million subscribers served by various networks. This guide compares the top operators Globe, Smart, and DITO to help you pick the best one.
We evaluate their coverage maps, data speeds, value-added services, and customer satisfaction ratings. Factors like call/text allowances, data bundles, roaming and customer service are also considered. By the end, you’ll understand which network is ideally suited to your location and usage needs for reliable connectivity at an affordable price.
Table of Contents
I. List of Mobile Operators in the Philippines
1. Main Mobile Operators in the Philippines
|Subscribers in the Philippines (as of 2023)
|Subsidiary of PLDT Inc
|January 24, 1991
|2G, 3G, 3.5G HSPA+, 4G LTE, LTE-A, and 5G
|Ayala Corporation (30.69%), SingTel (46.72%), Asiacom (52.36%)
|January 15, 1935
|2G, 3G, 3.5G HSPA+, 4G LTE, LTE-A, and 5G
|Dito CME Holdings Corporation (60%), China Telecommunications Corporation (40%)
|April 19, 1998
2. Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) in the Philippines
The Philippines has a few active MVNOs/mobile brands operating in the country.
- Cherry Prepaid is a branded reseller that uses the Globe Telecom network. It targets no-frills consumers and sells prepaid plans and mobile devices under the Cherry Mobile brand.
- Sun Cellular and TNT are both mobile brands owned by major network operators in the Philippines – Sun Cellular uses the Smart network while TNT uses Globe Telecom. They offer prepaid and postpaid plans targeting no-frills consumers.
- TM is the second brand of Globe Telecom offering prepaid plans.
- Redone Mobile is a Malaysia-based MVNO that announced plans to expand to several Southeast Asian countries including the Philippines, but has only launched in Thailand so far.
II. Choosing the Best Mobile Operators in the Philippines
In many areas outside of major cities, only one network may have good signal. Check which network locals prefer using in the regions you’ll be spending time in. For example, in Boracay, Smart tends to work better, while in Baguio City Globe has stronger coverage.
Based on recent speed tests, Smart on average has slightly faster mobile internet speeds at around 33 Mbps nationwide compared to Globe at 28 Mbps. However, speeds can vary greatly depending on your location and network congestion.
Both operators offer a variety of data packages at various price points. Be sure to research which package is best suited to your needs, whether you need just occasional data or want an unlimited plan. Some packages even include call and text benefits.
If you plan to travel outside the Philippines, check which operator offers cheaper roaming rates and packages to your destination countries. Smart and Globe both offer roaming options.
One network may have a better reputation for service quality in retail stores and call centers. Getting answers to questions can be easier with one versus the other.
For best results, it’s recommended to get SIM cards from both Globe and Smart so you can switch as needed based on coverage. Domestic rates are also low, so using a different operator for a period is not expensive. Research which network is most reliable for your specific needs to enjoy a great mobile experience in the Philippines.
III. Best Mobile Operators in the Philippines – Detailed Comparison
Here, we will look into their coverage, pricing plans, data allocations, network technologies, and additional services of three main mobile operators in the Philippines: Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Dito
|Coverage & Speeds
|Prices & Plans
|Average Monthly Cost
|Up to 1Gbps 4G speeds
|Widest nationwide 4G coverage with speeds over 50Mbps
|Phone, online and app support in English
|Various affordable plans for calls, texts and data. Monthly plans from $15-25.
|Social media, videos, music, online shopping, emails and messaging.
|Up to 800Mbps LTE speeds
|Broad regional 4G coverage in major cities with speeds over 30Mbps
|Limited English phone support. Online help available in English.
|Flexible data plans and promos starting from $1/day. Monthly plans from $12-20.
|Gaming, calls, texts, videos and mobile internet access.
|Up to 1Gbps promised speeds
|Expanding coverage focused on metro areas. Speeds over 20Mbps
|Phone support still developing. Online self-help available in English.
|Wide range of affordable plans for data and calls starting at $3. Monthly plans $8-15.
|Social media surfing, online classes, shopping and streaming on affordable data plans.
IV. Where to Buy SIM Card from Mobile Operators in the Philippines?
Purchasing a SIM card from Philippine mobile operators is relatively straightforward. You can find SIM cards from Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Dito in various locations such as:
- Mobile Operator Stores: Visit the official stores or branches of the respective mobile operators to purchase a SIM card directly from them. These stores usually have knowledgeable staff who can assist you with choosing the most suitable plan for your needs.
- Authorized Retailers: Many authorized retailers across the country sell SIM cards from major mobile operators. These retailers may include convenience stores, supermarkets, electronics stores, and even street vendors.
- Online Platforms: Some mobile operators offer the option to order SIM cards online through their official websites or mobile apps. This allows for convenient delivery to your doorstep.
- Airports and Tourist Areas: International airports and popular tourist destinations may have dedicated kiosks or booths where you can buy SIM cards upon arrival. Check Philippines Airport SIM for more.
When purchasing a SIM card, it’s important to bring a valid identification card, as this is required by law in the Philippines. The registration process typically involves providing basic personal information along with proof of identity.
V. Do Mobile Operators in the Philippines Offer eSIM?
Yes, mobile operators in the Philippines like Smart and Globe offer eSIM services. Smart launched the country’s first prepaid eSIM plan available at major airports and stores nationwide.
Globe was the first operator to introduce eSIM in the Philippines.
In addition, there are several third-party eSIM providers that offer plans specifically for the Philippines. This includes regional eSIMs covering the Philippines and Southeast Asia, as well as global eSIMs that provide service in over 100 countries worldwide.
One such provider is Philippinesesim.com by GIGAGO, which offers affordable eSIM plans starting from as low as $9.50 for 3 days up to $141.50 for 30 days. They cater to all major device types and offer 24/7 customer support. Data allowances range from 1GB up to 20GB daily on most plans.
Travelers can purchase and activate an eSIM conveniently online before their trip, providing wireless connectivity in the Philippines using a local mobile number. Philippinesesim.com provides a hassle-free eSIM solution for travelers visiting the country.
What are the major mobile operators in the Philippines?
The three major mobile operators are Smart Communications, Globe Telecom, and DITO Telecommunity.
Smart Communications and Globe Telecom have been the dominant duopoly for years. DITO Telecommunity launched in 2021 as the third major player.
Which network has the best coverage?
There is no single network with uniform nationwide coverage. Coverage varies significantly depending on the region.
In Metro Manila, both Smart and Globe typically have strong coverage. In other areas, one network may be significantly better than the other.
It’s generally recommended to get SIM cards from both Smart and Globe to have coverage options.
How do you purchase a SIM card?
Prepaid SIM cards for all major networks are widely available at retail shops across the Philippines for as low as PHP40.
You’ll need a government-issued ID to register the SIM card. Tourist SIM cards may have special registration procedures.
How do you purchase load or data packages?
Load can be purchased from retail shops as scratch cards. Larger stores may offer electronic reload.
Data packages can be subscribed to via the operator apps, by texting codes to specific numbers or by cash reload at retail shops.
Foreign debit/credit cards may be accepted on operator apps to purchase load or packages directly.
Does roaming work in other countries?
Both Smart and Globe offer international roaming services in select countries.
Data roaming packages need to be purchased through the operators’ sites or apps before traveling. Incoming calls may require a minimum balance.
There are also limited free basic roaming data benefits through WiFi hotspots or essential travel apps.
Choosing the best mobile operators in the Philippines can greatly impact your communication experience. Globe Telecom, Smart Communications, and Dito Telecommunity dominate the market, offering comprehensive coverage and diverse services.
Don’t forget to explore the exciting world of eSIMs, which provide a convenient alternative to physical SIM cards, and consider purchasing SIM cards from authorized retailers, online platforms, or directly from mobile operator stores.
We hope this detailed comparison and guide has provided you with valuable insights to choose the best mobile operator in the Philippines for a seamless communication experience.