The Philippines has seen massive growth in smartphone ownership and mobile internet access in recent years. Despite limitations in network infrastructure, Filipino internet users were among the most active mobile internet users in the Asia Pacific region , spending about 347 minutes per day engaged in a variety of online activities such as watching online videos and listening to music streaming services. Mobile application usage also increased, as more Filipinos used their devices to access social networking, shopping, gaming, and digital banking applications.

Popular social apps among Filipino internet users

Social networking applications consistently dominated the mobile app market, with Facebook taking the lead in terms of the most downloaded social media apps via Google Play as of August 2022. The Philippines’ Facebook population has been among the highest in the Asia Pacific region, thanks to the Internet.org app introduced by Facebook and Smart Communications Inc. in 2015. The app allowed free mobile internet services to a few mobile sites including Facebook and Facebook messenger apps. Aside from Facebook, TikTok also captured a growing share of smartphone users, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 2022, there were over 40 million TikTok users in the Philippines .

Trends in mobile network coverage

Challenges in network connections continue to hamper the activities of Filipino online users. As of December 2021, the median download speed of mobile internet in the Philippines was among the lowest in the Asia Pacific region. However, the presence of a third telecommunications provider which challenged the long-standing duopoly between PLDT and Globe Telecom could potentially improve network infrastructures and offer more subscription alternatives. 5G network has also been rolled out nationwide.

Outlook on digital economy

Despite these challenges, the country was forecast to see a growing interest in mobile application usage, in part due to the adaption of the digital economy. Apart from business establishments, the Philippine government has been promoting the use of financial technology applications and e-payment services through the National Payment Systems Act. Through this, developments and innovations in payment systems were promoted and monitored, hoping to boost the volume of digital payments in the country.


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