Airtel tops in 4G, 3G speeds; Jio in 4th place but catching up

Indian telecoms market leader Bharti Airtel has topped the list of operators for average 4G LTE speed downloads in India, according to an OpenSignal survey. Airtel saw average LTE download speeds of 9.2 Mbps and 3G speeds of 3.6 Mbps on its networks.

Reliance Jio's performance improved, with sizable increases in its 4G speeds even while the speeds of its competitors declined.

Even as access to LTE improved for Airtel, Idea and Vodafone, their tested 4G speeds all declined. This is likely a result of the intense competition for 4G customers since Jio's entry into the field.

The 4G and 3G download speeds were calculated from 1 June to 31 August this year.

OpenSignal says the data is based on over 700,000 devices. The overall speed metric takes into account both 3G and 4G speeds as well as the level of access for consumers.

For 4G LTE services, Airtel showed 9.15Mbps download speed, Vodafone showed 7.45Mbps, Idea was third at 7.4Mbps, and Jio fourth with 5.81Mbps.

The ranking was similar for 3G download speeds - Airtel topped the chart with 3.62Mbps, followed by Vodafone at 3.12Mbps, Idea at 2.6Mbps, state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd at 1.76Mbps speed, and Reliance Communications at 1.71Mbps. Jio is a 4G-only network.

''LTE availability was up across the board, while 3G speeds nose-dived. The enormous demand for mobile data hasn't abated, but the burden of that demand has spread to different networks. In our second State of Mobile Networks report for India, OpenSignal drew on more than 7 billion tests collected this summer from 708,504 mobile devices throughout India,'' OpenSignal said.

The Jio network's 4G LTE speed improved during the period under review, but still remains behind Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

Tracking the growth in Reliance Jio's LTE speeds in the last six months, OpenSignal said that ''... at 5.8 Mbps, Jio's 4G speed score was still the lowest of the four national 4G operators, but because of Jio's enormous LTE presence throughout India, it topped our overall speed charts.

''Jio's already impressive LTE reach has gotten even better in the last six months. Though Jio was by far the market leader in 4G availability in our measurements, its three main rivals all made significant improvements in this metric as well.''