More reports on: Telecom

Jio effect: India's 4G availability up, but speed lags Pak, Lanka

07 June 2017

India's average 4G LTE download speed dropped more than a megabit per second to 5.1 mbps in just six months' time, only marginally faster than the average global 3G connection which was measured at 4.4 mbps, according to data published by OpenSignal.

India was ranked at 74th spot, just ahead of Costa Rica, and behind other developing economies like Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Singapore scored the highest in 4G speed, while South Korea scored highest in 4G availability.

The global average LTE download speed was at 16.2 mbps. The average Wi-Fi download speed was 8.8 mbps.

However, India has made a big leap in terms of global 4G availability, with most of the improvement attributed to the newcomer Reliance Jio's 4G services, according to OpenSignal's 'State of LTE' report.

''Most of that improvement can be attributed to a single operator: Reliance Jio. In our most recent India report, we measured Jio's 4G availability at more than 90 per cent, while the other major operators all fell below 60 per cent availability in our tests,'' OpenSignal said. ''Ïndia shot up our LTE availability rankings, reflecting a rare instance in which a single operator can have an outsized impact on a mobile market in just a short time.''

The report found that OpenSignal users were able to find an LTE signal 81.6 per cent of the time in the first quarter of this year, up from 71.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2016. That score was high enough to rank India at 15 out of the 75 countries in the State of LTE report.

OpenSignal termed ''Jio's success as a double-edged sword'', saying that the onslaught of data usage which Jio's launch generated has actually taxed its network capacity, which has driven down 4G speeds.

Data from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India for April showed average download 4G speed on the network of Bharti Airtel lowest at 10.15 megabit per second in the month, while the Mukesh Ambani-led Jio was rated as the top telco in average download speed in India with 19.12 megabit per second, The Economic Times reports.

These findings follow Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio's bitter war over speed claims earlier this year, which was kicked off by Ookla's speed test that rated the Sunil Miital-led Airtel as India's fastest 4G network, a claim, however, countered by Jio.

OpenSignal said it collected data from consumer smartphones and recorded under conditions of normal usage as compared to drive-test data, which attempts to simulate what a user might experience by using the same devices to measure network performance in a small number of locations. OpenSignal took measurements from millions of smartphones owned by regular people who have downloaded OpenSignal's apps.

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