OpenSignal has published a new report based on the study of overall download speeds of telecom operators in India. The new report, however, is not a standard summary of how the telcos have performed over a course of few months and is actually based on ten months of overall download speeds of India’s four major 4G providers - Airtel, Jio, Vodafone and Idea. As per the study, which commenced in May 2017 and ended in February 2018, Airtel is the most consistent network operator which started off with the highest overall download speed but somewhere on the way, lost to Reliance Jio and then again regained the top position by February 2018, with Jio coming in second.
It should be noted that the alongside the average 4G speed of the operators, the report also takes 3G speed and network availability into account. The OpenSignal report pegs Airtel, Jio, Airtel and Idea as the top network performers, and the first thing that comes to notice is that from June, 2017 till August 2017, overall speeds for Airtel, Idea and Vodafone were relatively steady. However, the three telcos exhibited accelerated speeds starting September last year, which continued to grow progressively till February 2018. OpenSignal says this is not due to an increase in either LTE or 3G speeds but is due to the expansion of LTE reach of the three telcos.
Additionally, 4G network availability of the three operators is also said to have increased significantly during these ten months. Overall speeds for Airtel, Idea and Vodafone increased as more customers had access to faster LTE connections more often, with Airtel and Idea exhibiting the “most dramatic improvement in overall speed scores by jumping almost a megabit between May 2017 and February 2018.” Finally, Airtel surpassed Jio in terms of overall speeds in December 2017, while both Idea and Vodafone lagged behind with almost the same overall download speeds.
Taking a look at Jio’s network availability and speeds, OpenSignal says that the VoLTE-only network operator’s speed score depends solely on the download speeds of its 4G connections. There seems to be no issue in that area as a previous OpenSignal report stated that Jio users were able to find an LTE signal more than 96% of the time. However, there is also some problem with its overall 4G speeds, which suffer due to capacity issues.
Coming back to the current ten-month study, Jio portrayed a ‘big spike’ in overall download speeds in May, June and July last year, pushing ahead of Airtel. This speed boost is attributed to the network upgrades, which are said to have boosted capacity on Jio’s LTE network. However, after the spike, Jio’s overall speeds can be seen levelling off and then gradually dropping before stabilizing in February 2018. In OpenSignal’s overall speed metrics, Jio came in second in February, behind Airtel but ahead of Idea and Vodafone.
The previous report by OpenSignal named State of Mobile Networks in India (April 2018) found that Airtel is still ahead of the competition in terms of mobile internet speed in 3G and 4G, as well as overall speed. The report stated that Airtel delivered overall download speeds of 6 Mbps while Reliance Jio came in second with a speed of 5.1 Mbps. Additionally, Reliance Jio had the maximum 4G coverage, beating the competition by 27 percent. The testers for OpenSignal were able to find a 4G signal on Reliance Jio 96.4 percent of the time, up from 95.6 percent in October. You can read the entire report here.